Geneseo is a magical place. A place where time seems to have not only stood still, but to have reversed itself. Each summer, the small village of Geneseo in west-central New York State puts out a welcome mat of lush green grass in anticipation of the rumble of aircraft tires and the hot and mighty breath of warbird prop wash. For years, it has been the setting for a gathering of ghosts from a period when aviation was truly stretching the bounds of performance, design and indeed its own place in history.
On a gorgeous weekend in August, the hills around Geneseo are alive with the sound of a certain kind of music - an operetta by Pratt and Whitney, a symphony by Merlin or a concerto in Gypsy Major. The lure of warbird music brings not only aircraft from all around the North East and Canada, but enthusiasts, friends and neighbours who come for the aircraft but stay for the ambiance of sound, smell and light. Up along the show line, if one listens closely beneath the thunder of the world’s mightiest piston engines and the whistle of superchargers, one can detect the delicate staccato of shutter clicks and the whir of motor drives. Geneseo draws photographers to warbirds like ants to honey
For the 2007 edition of Geneseo’s “Greatest Show on Turf”, a number of photographer-friends of Vintage Wings were there to capture our presence at this flight into history. Some are seasoned veterans like Eric Dumigan and others like Vintage Wings of Canada aircraft mechanic, Marty Periard simply had a digital camera, a good eye and one hell of a great seat.
Vintage Wings of Canada flew four aircraft to the show - Mustang IV, Spitfire XVI, Harvard 4 and de Havilland Fox Moth. Though the thunder of the warbirds always has spectators rushing for the fence line, it was our little aristocratic de Havilland Fox Moth with the royal bloodline that had every photographer jostling for angles and elbowing the competition for the best light. Regardless of their experience, our four photographers have captured the essence of this magical place.
Considered by many to be one of the finest aviation photographers anywhere, Eric Dumigan is not only an excellent visualizer, he is also an exceptional organizer. It's his skill in arranging appropriate photoships, times, pilots and airspace that give him the professional edge. Eric was given the opportunity to photograph the Fox Moth at Geneseo and he selected a Boeing Stearman for the photoship. You can see the results of this Air-to-Air photo shoot on our website under "Recent Stories - "Foxy Lady"". Here the rigging in the foreground helps you to feel exactly what Eric felt as he cruised the New York skies. Photo: Eric Dumigan
Tim Leslie runs wild and free with a herd of Mustangs at Geneseo. Photo: J.P.Bonin
J.P. Bonin captures the true feeling of Geneseo - lush green grass, late afternoon shadows and spectacular skies awaiting intrepid avaitors like Dave Hadfield in the de Havilland Fox Moth. Photo J.P. Bonin
The tumult of clouds from the trailing edge of a weather front make the PERFECT backdrop for Dave Hadfield in the Fox Moth. Photo: J.P.Bonin
Tim Leslie leads his stablemates back to the corral. Photo: J.P. Bonin
Michel Côté of Classic Air Rallye captures the Vintage Wings of Canada Mustang IV at the end of the day. Photo Michel Côté
At the Going Down of the Sun - Looking like she might have looked in the spring of 1945 at the end of a hard day of fighting, the Supermarine Spitfire XVI is captured at sundown. Photo Michel Côté
Tim Leslie leads a formation in echelon left in a thundering pass down the showline at Geneseo. Photo J.P. Bonin
No, mechanic John Brennan isn't playing a practical joke on pilot Rob Erdos, he's simply adding weight to to the tail while Rob runs up the engine . During the Second World War it was common practice for ground crew to ride the tails of Spits, which are notoriously light on the tail wheel, while they taxied across rough airfields. This would help diminish the possibility of a prop strike if the tail was bucked too hard. There is at least one recorded instance of a Spit pilot taking off with the unfortunate tail-sitter still ensconced. Luckily, he realized there was an immediate balance problem and circled to return with a rather cold, but still breathing, still seated, female ground crew. Photo: Michel Côté
The beautiful lines of the Fox Moth from above - a rare angle for most ground photographers. Photo: Eric Dumigan
Rob Erdos slips the beautiful Vintage Wings Spitfire onto the right wing of Tim in the Mustang.
Marty the Arty. Even mechanics are mesmerized by Art Deco lines of the Fox Moth. Photo: Marty Periard