This air show has the World War II buff in mind. Most of the aircrafts flown date from the pre-jet age. There are numerous fighter planes from both theaters of war. From the European theater you'll see P-40 War Hawks, P-38 Lightnings, P-47 Thunderbolts and the ever popular P-51 Mustang. (One year they managed to put
Whatever your aviation passions, whether its the latest in military air power, daredevil stunt flying, or seeing museum pieces of the past take to the skies, a most unforgetable event is to go to an air show. Every year a number of airports and military bases put on a display of air-power - both past and present - that thrills the crowd and has hundreds of cameras clicking. From the opening performance to the show closer, there is always something to see and so often there is so much going on that a bathroom break seems to be a difficult thing to include in your schedule. Below are four outstanding air shows, each with thier own theme, presented in choronlogical order - from one of the earliest performances of the air show season to one of the last.
Made famous in the movie Top Gun, Miramar has since been given over to the United States Marine Corp. Although the air show may feature a few World War II era flying aircraft, the main attraction here is the military hardware. The opening event is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Assault Demonstration and includes a number of military aircrafts, including several helicopters, a mid-air refueling demo, and simulated
Located on the southern rim of the city not far from the Johnson Space Center, the air field offers a number of both military as well as civilian aircraft demonstrations. The show often includes one of the military demonstration teams - the U.S. Navy Blue Angels or the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. But the unique attraction that keep 'em coming back is the pyro-technical extravaganza known as
While the glitz and glamor of the Las Vegas strip may draw in the crowds during the evenings and night, if you're there in November, Nellis Air Force Base is the place to be. A variety of aircraft perform at this show including a number of military propeller driven craft as well as some older jet trainers and fighters. The show concludes with the ever popular
If you go: Seating is non-existant except at a few eateries that may have benches and many visitors bring thier own folding chairs. However, there is a grassy area where you could spread out a blanket. The prime viewing areas near the fence-line are quickly taken, but the view of the flying is excellent from anywhere along the tarmac. Water and soft drinks are readily available for purchase.
If you go: Seating is available for a fee, and the best seating is at the Semper Fi Chalet. The cost of a ticket there includes meals and drinks for the duration of the daytime show; certainly well worth the cost. After the daytime show the chalet is cleared and cleaned for the ticket holders of the evening show. Between show time is perhaps the best time to view the numerous static (non-flying) aircraft on display.
If you go: Seating is available for a fee, and the best seating is at the Eagle Chalet. The cost of a ticket there includes meals and drinks for the duration of the show. However after the show is over you may want to stay and have another drink or visit the static displays, since exiting the parking lot will take a long time.
Tips on taking air show photographs:
You will find yourself taking many pictures if you attend one of these events, so here are some hints to making the most of your picture taking.
The cell phone camera may be okay for the static display snapshots, but for pictures that are worth keeping, bring a real camera. Static displays are fine for a standard lens (50mm - 70mm), or even for a wide angle (18mm - 28mm). But for the planes in flight, the best lens is the biggest you can bring - a 300mm to 500mm is recommended. I belive anything larger is too much. Jet planes are fast so set your shutter speed to at least 1/500 of a second. That way the image will be sharp. For propeller planes, you'll want to see some propeller blur to show that the propeller was acturally spinning. Slow your shutter speed to 1/250 of a second (even slower for helicopters). Any faster and you'll freeze the propeller, which will - in my opinion - make the picture look "goofy". However, at this speed you'll have to pan to closly match the speed of the airplane and keep the image sharp. Pivot at the hips as you pan and keep your elbows tight to your body when you shoot.
One final word of warning.
Although the day may begin cool and comfortable, these air shows occur in areas where there is much sunshine and the late morning and early afternoon temperatures can be anywhere from very warm to hot. Be sure to bring a hat, slather on the sunscreen, and drink plenty of water.
fifty P-51's in the air simultaneously!) The Asian war theater includes carrier aircraft like the Grumman TBF Avenger, F6F Hellcat, and the Vought F4U Corsiar. Bombers participating in the fly-by's include the B-25 twin engine Mitchell, the B-24 Liberator, and the most famous WWII bomber, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
assaults by Harrier and F18 Hornet. But the Marines are most famous for thier ground assault, to to sweeten the pot, the demonstration includes a number of armored vehicles as well. The shows closing number is always the U.S. Navy Blue Angels aireal demonstration team. But wait! There's more! An evening show takes place after the daytime show ends, which includes after-burner fly-bys, a firework display, and the famous Miramar Wall of Fire - certainly worth seeing if you should attend.
"Tora Tora Tora", a spectacular re-enacment of the December 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. Torpedo planes, bombers and fighters zig-zag and buzz the field like angry hornets amid the orange and red exploding fireballs and billowing black smoke of the special effects. If you ever have the opportunity, this historical re-enacment is well worth seeing.
Planes of Fame Airshow (May - Chino, California)
Miramar Airshow (September - San Diego, California)
Wings Over Houston Airshow (October - Houston, Texas)
Nellis AFB Aviation Nation Airshow (November - Las Vegas, Nevada)
If you go: The event has no chalets or seating like some of the other shows, so if you need to give your feet a break you'll either have to bring in your own chair or take a seat on the concrete tarmac - in the shadow of one of the aircraft, if you are lucky. Vendors are located throughout the static display area with a variety of food and beverage available for purchase.
Thunderbirds demonstration team taking to the skies. The red, white and blue F-16 Falcons make the Nellis show thier final show of the season.
P-51 Mustang & P-38 Lightning
Harrier demonstating vertical take-off ability
Attack on Pearl Harborr
Note: Due to the current coronavirus situation, the 2020 Planes of Fame airshow in Chino, California, has been cancelled. Also, no information about the Nellis AFB Aviation Nation Airshow has been posted for 2020. Typically Aviation Nation is the last show of the season for the USAF Thunderbirds flight demonstration team. This year the team's last show will be in San Antonio, Texas, at the JBSA Air & Space Show & Open House on November 14–15.
SEE NOTE BELOW