Today I went to the annual airshow at MCAS(Marine Corps Air Station) Miramar in San Diego. I have always had a love for aircraft ever since grade school, so I was excited to go. It was an awesome experience. The first demonstration I saw was a Marine Air-Ground Task Force Assault Demo. It was a demonstration of close air support, armor,artillery and infantry. It was complete with helicopters, jets, tanks,marines and a lot of fiery explosions. The explosions were so intense I could feel the heat. Next was the F/A-18 Hornet showing it's capabilities. After that was a step back to the past. They had a legacy flight with some WWII era fighter planes, and flying alongside was an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. I thought the juxtaposition of old and new was quite an interesting sight to see. Following that was a civilian acrobatic flyer in a bright red bi-plane, the "Oracle Challenger" piloted by Sean Tucker, a veteran of the airshow circuit. His loops and death defying spins were amazing to watch. After that was the Patriots Jet Team. As they soared overhead they trailed streamers of red, white, and blue smoke. I missed the next act, Shockley's "ShockWave" Jet Truck, because I was looking at the various aircraft assembled on the tarmac. I'm just not that interested in trucks. After that was a civilian acrobatic flying team, the Red Baron Squadron 4-Ship Stearman Aircraft. They did some amazing synchronized maneuvers. Next, they had a demonstration of one of my favorite jets, the AV-8B Harrier Jet. I find it interesting because it is a VTOL(vertical take off and landing). The sight of a jet hovering in the air is amazing. The final act was the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, the stars of the show. Usually they have the Navy Blue Angels, but this year is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Airforce, so they had the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds are just as awesome. There was much anticipation as the Thunderbirds prepared to take to the sky. I could feel the excitement in the air as the jets roared down the runway and soared majestically into the sky. The roar of jets makes the hairs rise on the back of my neck with excitement. I felt like a kid. I am always amazed at how the pilots can be so precise in their maneuvers. The six red, white, and blue Thunderbirds perform formation flying and solo routines, most of which are pretty hair-raising. In one routine, two jets fly full speed towards each other and then bank away from each other as they seem about to collide. In another, a jet flew upside down. In the mirror formation one jet flies upside down directly above the other jet creating a mirror image. The "bomb burst" maneuver is a sight to see. The jets fly straight up in the air then veer off in different directions. They end the show with all six jets flying in the delta formation. A beautiful sight to see.
I left the airshow feeling elated and looking forward to next year's show.