Aerial Performances at MCAS Miramar Air Show, San Diego: A Visitor’s Guide

Last weekend, residents and guests of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar defied the gravity again during the largest military air show in the USA. 

Miramar air show - Roads and Destinations
Aerial performances at MCAS Miramar, San Diego

It’s Time for Air Show at MCAS Miramar

Every year, sometime at the end of September, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in the northern part of San Diego opens its doors to civilian visitors. Local communities as well as people from all over the world flock to the 27,000-acre facility to partake in the astonishing air show delivered by the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, and some of the legends of the aerobatic performance world.

MCAS Miramar has been home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing since October 1, 1997. More than 10,000 Marines operate the station, conduct various community relations activities, volunteer at locals schools and civic organization, and grow together with the communities of San Diego County. 

Aerial Performances at MCAS Miramar

Once a year, MCAS Miramar hosts the largest military air show in the country. This September, the military station impressed its civilian visitors with extensive static displays. Aircraft of the U.S. Maine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, Air Force, and Royal Air Force gathered on the Miramar’s spacious exhibit area. 

Some of these, with closed cockpits, served mere demonstrating purposes. Many more encouraged the civilians to step inside. Military personnel supervising these aircraft showed equal attention to adults and kids, some of whom would probably join the military forces in a few years. 

The static displays and endless tents selling t-shirts, caps, and toy airplanes offered an amazing opportunity to stretch your legs and take a walk in between the actual shows. But nothing could be compared with the aerial performances. 

The MCAS Miramar air show started at 8:00 am and lasted all day long. The mind-blowing demonstrations were offered by the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Team, U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, Marine Corps aircraft, Red Bull Air Force team, and legendary aerobatic performers, such as Vicky Benzing, Mike Goulian, Jon Melby, Rob Holland, and Kent Pietsch. 

Miramar air show - Roads and Destinations
MCAS Miramar Air Show
Miramar air show - Roads and Destinations
Miramar Air Show: Marines
Miramar air show - Roads and Destinations
MCAS Miramar Air Show: Red Bull Team

The Blue Angels at MCAS Miramar

The highlight of the show, however, were the aerial demonstrations by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. These sky conquerors, scheduled to perform at the end of the show day, kept the spectators perched on the bleachers under the scorching California sun until the very end. 

Even those who didn’t make it all the way to the demonstration front line could see the flawless tricks and precise lines left up in the sky as the remarkable four Blue Angels crisscrossed the airspace. 

The Blue Angeles has been representing the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in the aerial shows throughout the United States and abroad since 1946. The current team consists of 154 active-duty Sailors and Marines who don’t hesitate to showcase the remarkable excellence and power of naval aviation. 

Air show in San Diego - Roads and Destinations
MCAS Miramar Air Show: The Blue Angels
Air show in San Diego - Roads and Destinations
Miramar Air Show: The Blue Angels performing
The Blue Angels - Roads and Destinations
MCAS Miramar Air Show: The Blue Angels

A Visitor’s Guide to the MCAS Miramar Air Show: Practical Tips 

Prepare for a Full Day under the Sun

The MCAS Miramar show area is fully exposed to the sun. Considering that in Southern California even a seemingly sunless day can be more than your skin can handle, you should slather on some sunscreen or carry an umbrella at all times. 

Wide-brimmed hats and caps that cover your head, face, and even neck are nonnegotiable here. And if it’s possible, wear something light that covers your arms and legs. Precaution is certainly better than dealing with painful sunburns later on. 

Bleachers or Own Chair

The MCAS Miramar aerial show is free. You can enjoy it from a residential structure nearby, a parking lot inside the military station, or perched on your own portable chair right in front of the presentation “stage”. 

The best views open up from the bleachers, though. A spot on one of these benches costs about $20.

Clear Bags

You can purchase some food and drinks at the numerous tents and vendors at MCAS Miramar. Bringing your own food, as well as portable chairs and umbrellas, is also allowed. Everything, however, must be packed in clear bags. 

Valid Identification Card

Upon approaching a checkpoint and entering the MCAS Miramar show area, you must also present a valid ID. 

Wear Comfortable Shoes

A walk from a parking lot to the MCAS Miramar show area can be long. So a pair of comfortable shoes ensures that you have a good start of the day.

Bring a Telephoto Lens

For all photographers out there, even the closest aircraft can be as far as a mile away. To get a close-up of this you need a telephoto lens. 

Miramar air show-- Roads and Destinations
MCAS Miramar Aerial Performances
Miramar air show-- Roads and Destinations
MCAS Miramar Air Show: Vicky Benzing flying
Miramar air show - Roads and Destinations
Miramar Air Show: Audience on the bleachers
Miramar air show - Roads and Destinations
MCAS Miramar Air Show: Marines
Military air show - Roads and Destinations
MCAS Air Show: Kent Pietsch performing

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