Published in the January 1954 issue of Naval Aviation News
Photographer & Author Unknown

Sandwiched is between two rainy days, a warm sun and blue skies appeared on schedule for the air show and open house as NAS Niagara Falls. Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Powered Flight, Naval Air Reserve Day was a supersonic success with an estimated 225,000 people swarming the highways from Buffalo to Niagara Falls to see the show

Hidden behind the dazzling demonstration of high-speed aircraft and pilot skill were the hours of plain hard work that went into the show. As early as last spring, the long hours of planning began as flight demonstrations and static exhibits were lined up. Picture files were combed for the best photos to be used in the air station’s souvenir program. Community leaders were approached to act as sponsors and advisors for the occasion.

Several days before the show, LCdr. Frank Graham, publicity man for the Blue Angels, arrived in his TV-2 jet trainer to acquaint the public with the name and purpose of the Navy’s flight demonstration team. Newspapermen and radio and TV announcers made flights with Graham in the TV-2 to record their impressions and gather back-ground material, employed in plugging the air show.

Two days before the show, all hands at Niagara were busier than the proverbial one-armed paperhanger setting up booths for static displays, lining the bulkheads with photos depicting the history of aviation, hanging pennants and signal flags and slicking up all the spaces as neat as they would for a Captain’s inspection.

The Blue Angels worked overtime too, making personal appearances on radio and TV shows, posing for publicity pictures and doing anything else that would keep public interest high right up to the moment of the show. Even between two scheduled flight demonstrations, they were still working at high speed, whether it was posing for another publicity picture or taking a few moments off to talk to the pretty airlines hostesses in the hanger.

When the show was over, all hands could point to attendance figures to prove hard work pays off. The proof of the pudding came during the balance of the week as the 40,000 square feet of aviation exhibits were left open to the public. More than 9,000 school children visited the station during the week, eager to see the displays.