NEWINGTON – The Thunderclap over the New Hampshire Air Show drew thousands of people to Pease Air National Guard base starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, hours before the flight began.
It was the first of two days of the long-awaited airshow, the first at Pease since 2010, featuring the Air Force Thunderbirds. It was a sunny summer day, perfect for flying and observing.
Captain (N) Dan Ettlich, Commander of the Portsmouth Shipyard, found the perfect spot for him and his family to watch, spreading blankets and having lunch under the shade of a large plane wing.
“I like airplanes the most,” said 11-year-old Caleb Ettlich, one of his children. When he said he preferred the A10 Warthog so far, his younger brother Isaac, 6, said he was building one, not from a kit.
“We saw the instructions in a magazine,” said Captain Ettlich. “There is a lumber shop on the base, run by morale, welfare and recreation. They help Isaac build his plane. His older brother Adam, 13, has already built one.”
“It’s pretty difficult,” said Hope, 9, another of her children.
Steve and Gail McCauley came from Billerica, Massachusetts, to see the show.
“We love air shows. They are so exciting,” Gail said. “The last time we saw the Thunderbirds was probably over 20 years ago at Hanscom Air Force Base. I like that the lead pilot is female, that four of them are female. . “
“My last quote is, ‘God bless America and protect the American armed forces,’ the greatest force in world history,” said Steve.
The McCauley’s attended the 9/11 ceremony that opened the show on Saturday.
“We both cried,” Gail said. “It’s hard to think that was 20 years ago.”
The acrobatic performance of Nashua native Rob Holland was applauded by audiences in his home country. “Ooohs” and “aaahs” followed his every move.
“It was worth the trip just to see Rob Holland,” said Steve McCauley. “It was really something.”
Navy pilot Matt Tumelty gave a tour of the C2 Greyhound, an old 8-bladed propeller plane.
“I think they have been using them for over 60 years,” he said. “This old maid still has a lot of life left.”
A section of the show has been set aside for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) demonstrations, including high school and college robotics teams, which lost a year of competitions last year due to the pandemic.
“We build robots, yes,” said Norah Garland, an elder at Bow High School. “But our program is much more than that. We want to teach children to be leaders. We do everything. We run our own marketing and business plans. We want to recruit more and more students because we are real teams that excel in science. “
The Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show continues with the second and final event on Sunday, September 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with flight performances from noon to 4 p.m. Although the show is free, there are no longer any parking passes required to enter the air show.