The annual Miramar Air Show returns to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Friday with a bevy of military and civilian aircraft performances scheduled through Sunday. This year’s theme is “100 Years of Women in the Marine Corps.”
Each day opens with civilian aerobatics team performances. Parachute teams, such as the Navy Leap Frogs and U.S. Army Golden Knights, will kick off the military demonstrations. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels — the show’s headliners — are also the closing performers each day.
Other demonstrations include some of the Marines’ newest aircraft — the V-22 Osprey and F-35B Lightning II — and the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. The MAGTF demonstration includes AV-8B Harriers, F/A-18 Hornets as well as armor, artillery and infantry assets.
One notable absence — and, according to the Marines, a last-minute cancelation — is the U.S. Air Force F-22A Raptor demonstration team, which was scheduled to perform in conjunction with an Air Force heritage flight with WWII, Korea and Vietnam-era planes.
“The F-22 demo team will not be able to participate in the Miramar Air Show because operational priorities have pulled refueling support,” said Erica Vega, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Air Combat Command. “Other Air Force assets, however, will be at the Miramar Air Show to showcase American airpower to the local community.”
According to the Marines, last year more than half a million people attended the air show over its three days, with Saturday being the busiest and Friday the least.
Marine Colonel Charles Dockery, the commanding officer of MCAS Miramar, said the air show was a huge undertaking, and that as soon as this year’s was over, planning would begin for the next one.
“It’s a lot of work from a planning perspective,” he said. “We start flight operations again at noon on Monday, and we start prepping for next year’s air show. It is a continuous process.”
Dockery also talked about safety and security, calling the event a team effort.
“The FBI is here, (the) Department of Homeland Security is here, (San Diego County) Sheriffs, San Diego P.D…” he said. “We have a great partnership.”
Part of the security includes a list of prohibited items, available on the show’s website. Backpacks and purses are not allowed unless they are clear. A small clutch purse will be allowed for personal items, however.
Alcohol, coolers and ice chests are also not allowed.
On Thursday, the air station allowed local news media to watch the final practice sessions before the show. One team, Sean D. Tucker Aerobatics, brought Granite Hills High School junior Hannah Hollinger, 16, up in the air for some aerobatic maneuvers.
“I got to do hammerheads, inversion and loops,” she said. “I’ve never done acrobatic flight before.”
Hollinger described the sensation of flying upside-down as “totally crazy.”
“When you’re flying upside down, it just feels really weird and off. It’s a totally different experience — it was really cool.”
Dockery said he was looking forward to seeing the Blue Angels most of all.
“You just can’t beat it,” he said.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tyler Davies, the lead soloist and pilot of Blue Angels plane No. 5, said he was excited to fly this weekend.
“It’s amazing to be here,” he said. “We hope everybody comes out.”
The MCAS Miramar Air Show runs Friday-Sunday. General admission is free while grandstand and box seats are available for purchase on the air show’s website.
Gates open daily at 8:00 a.m.