For the last four months, both air show fans and performers have had to deal with an air show hiatus, with the exception of the occasional small air show here and there. Everyone has been preparing and looking forward to the start of the 2016 air show season. We have good news: It's here!
The 2016 air show season kicks into high gear this weekend as the military jet teams complete their Winter Training and the newbies on the team prepare for their first air show ever. Top civilian performers complete their winter maintenance and practice, and begin traveling across the country to their first shows of the year. Three major air shows are set to take place this weekend.
The El Centro Air Show is set to take place Saturday at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California. The Blue Angels are headlining the event, as they just wrapped up an intensive 10 week Winter Training period in which each of the demonstration pilots completed the necessary 120 practice flights required prior to their first public demonstration. Other performers include the Navy Leapfrogs, John Collver, the Red Eagles, Spencer Suderman, Vicky Benzing, and numerous aircraft from both the Commemorative Air Force and the Planes of Fame museum. The U.S. Navy Tactical Demonstration Team and the Turkish F-16 Demo Team were both set to perform, but logistical issues forced their cancellations.
To the east of El Centro, Thunder and Lightning over Arizona is set to take place both Saturday and Sunday at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. The United States Air Force Thunderbirds are headlining the show, and they're also coming off an extensive Winter Training at both Nellis and Creech AFB. The Air Combat Command Aerial Events F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team will also headline the event, fresh off its Heritage Flight certification at the 2016 Heritage Flight Conference at Davis-Monthan. Other performers include the USMC Harrier, Bill Braack in the Smoke-N-Thunder Jet Car, Jacquie B, Kent Pietsch, and a Heritage Flight.
On the other side of the country, the Valiant Air Command TICO Warbird Airshow kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday. It features the world's most historic warbirds, along with performances from the Air Combat Command Aerial Events F-16 Viper Demo Team, Matt Younkin, the only flying B-29, FIFI, a MiG-17, T-33, F-86 Sabre, and more! The U.S. Navy Tactical Demonstration Team was set to headline the show, but was forced to cancel due to scheduling issues.
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