2020 New York Int’l Air Show Drive In a Big Success Event became a model for the era of social distancing

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The New York International Air Show took place this past weekend at Orange County Airport in Montgomery, New York.

“Orange County Government provided a level of support to the event unlike anything we have ever seen” said Bryan Lilley, Chairman of the New York International Air Show.

The New York International Air Show took place this past weekend at Orange County Airport in Montgomery, New York. The event featured an all-star Air Force line up including the Thunderbirds, F-22 Raptor Demo Team and F-35 Lightning II Demo Team

This year’s event was converted to a Drive In format just three weeks ago to comply with New York State Health Department Regulations. Show officials worked with the leadership at Orange County Government to create and submit a plan in early August after Governor Cuomo said he would be willing to consider allowing the event to take place if it was held as a Drive In.

“Orange County Government provided a level of support to the event unlike anything we have ever seen” said Bryan Lilley, Chairman of the New York International Air Show. “Our thanks to County Executive Steven Neuhaus and his incredible team for making the show possible.”

The event was moved from New York Stewart International Airport, its home for the past five years, to nearby Orange County Airport where a 200 acre grass infield was available to space out vehicles enough to allow spectators to view the event from private carside viewing boxes.

“Our aerial stage is two miles wide and 500 feet high” said Lilley, “Making it the perfect event to host in the era of social distancing. We were able to spread the cars out over a half mile wide area inside the airport and provide viewing areas beside each vehicle that complied with all CDC social distancing guidelines.”

The New York State Health Department worked with Orange County Government and Event Officials on some last minute mandates that really contributed to the success of the show.

“We painted over 50 miles of lines on the infield of the airport in one day to create clearly delinieated carside viewing boxes for each vehicle” said Steven Neuhaus, Orange County Executive. “This really assisted law enforcement with social distancing compliance to ensure the safety of spectators viewing the show.”

The 2021 New York International Air Show is scheduled for August 28-29, 2021. Show officials are in discussion with Aviation department leadership from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the event to return to New York Stewart International Airport in future years once social distancing guidelines are relaxed.

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Chris Dirato
Bitner Group
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