MCAS Miramar Air Show

Blue Angels in action

Osprey - part helicopter/part airplane

Saturday was a terrific day for the Air Show.  It was partly cloudy, which made it delightfully cool for a San Diego September.  Another advantage was that it was much easier to look up into the sky to watch the shows.

It was a great opportunity to look at aircraft up close.  We saw Hornets, Harriers, an Osprey tilt rotor plane (that’s a crazy looking plane), an enormous troop transport plane and much more.  I was shocked at how small fighter planes are in person.  The idea of flying around in one seems terrifying!!!  There were lots of helicopters, such as the Cobra and Huey.  You could climb inside some of the aircraft and others had engine cover opened for a more thorough look.

We arrived for the end of the Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Team.  We got lunch and then watched the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Demonstration.  They simulated an attack on a target and explained how the Harriers attack first.  Then two types of helicopters assist in inserting troops.  It was nerve-wracking watching soldiers travel down a line from the helicopter above to the ground.  It was an exciting show with plenty of explosions.

The next show was a stunt plane demonstration by the Oracle Challenger.  It was an old-fashioned bi-plane with most of the tricks done right over the audience.

The Patriots Jet Team, with their signature red, white and blue smoke trails performed a great set of stunts and formations.  One of the most moving maneuvers was the performance of the “Lost Man Formation”.  The six planes fly in tight formation at an approximately 45 degree angle to the ground.  Then, one plane does a vertical ascent to the clouds to symbolize the lost serviceman.  Very moving!

The stars of the day were the Blue Angels and they didn’t disappoint.  It was a thrilling performance of close formations, low dives, inversions, collusions avoided by inches, and big noise.  One of the most fascinating moments was when the planes flew low and so slowly that they almost stood still.

The Air Show is great family fun.  Admission and parking is free.  Allow about a half-hour from when you get on base until you get into the parking lot.  The roads on the base are two lane and there is a high volume of cars.  Once parked, allow another half-hour for security and to take a tram to the show grounds.  You can only bring clear plastic bags into the facility and they scan ID.  Inside, there are many food choices – gyros, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.  – reasonably priced with reasonable lines.  There are also plenty of toilets!

We paid $70 each for access to a tent with chairs and bottled water.  You are allowed to bring your food into the tents.  Free seating is available on a large grandstand.  There are also areas where you can set up your chairs for free.  Ear plugs are a good idea, especially for children.  It is a must-see experience!


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