JONES BEACH STATE PARK, N.Y. - Aidan Kilduff, 11, and his Levittown family were part of the 50,000 people in attendance Friday at Jones Beach for the preview for this weekend's annual Bethpage Air Show featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Golden Knights.
"I like when they do the diamond formation and all that stuff," Aidan said. "It's fun. It's cool."
Attending the event is a Kilduff family tradition. Stephanie Kilduff, Aidan's mom, said they've been coming for more than 15 years.
"We are a military family and my nephew is serving now, so it's just very patriotic and very emotional for all of us," Stephanie said.
It's the first time here for Ainsley Brown, who lives in Selden.
"I'm sorry about the people tomorrow but today is great, couldn't be a better day for us," Brown said.
The official air shows are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday but the weather forecast isn't looking promising. It's a real letdown for some pilots we spoke to, especially since last year's air shows were canceled due to COVID-19. Still, they're holding out hope.
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Lt. Col. Kevin DiFalco, a pilot with the Thunderbirds, said the decision to fly has a lot to do with the position of the clouds.
"We need to stay out of the clouds to have appropriate visibility so we can see the appropriate distance away from the show center," DiFalco said, "which is where we are standing right now."
GEICO Skytypers pilot Jim Record said he is "eternally optimistic."
"Today was supposed to be a terrible day and it worked out well," Record said. "Tomorrow might be a little bit rough but we are going to standby and if the weather is good when our time comes to fly, we'll fly."
If the weather holds out this weekend, the shows on Saturday and Sunday will take place from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If the shows are canceled, unfortunately, they won't be rescheduled and you won't get a refund for your $10 entrance ticket. But you can use that ticket for entrance at any state park two times this summer.