Air Force Thunderbirds Lead Weekend Performances In Air & On Ground In Lancaster, CA
The action in Los Angeles is often on the ground or in the surf, but on the weekend of March 25-26 it’s in the air.
That’s because the Los Angeles County Air Show, presented by Lockheed Martin, is at General William J. Fox Airfield in Lancaster. It’s a visual spectacle in the wild blue yonder in an area rich in aviation history: Chuck Yager in the experimental X planes, hometown of the Stealth bomber and landing location of the space shuttles at Edwards Air Force Base are among its many moments of aircraft action.
The Air Show starts off with a kickoff block party on The Blvd., in downtown Lancaster, which is better than you might think it is, for it’s got a restaurants, a happening nightclub, a cool wine bar and a brewpub. This starts at 5 and is free.
Then it’s two days of planes and pilots up in the air and on the ground. The USAF Thunderbirds are the highlight performers, and there’s also WWII Warbirds, skydivers and pyrotechnics. Here’s what’s happening in the sky:
• Greg “Wired” Coyler in his Lockheed T-33 – Ace Maker
• Vicky Benzing in her 1940 Boeing Stearman
• Bill Stein precision aerobatics in a colorful Zivko Edge 540
• Matt Chapman in his Extra 330LX
• Rob Holland in his MXS-RH
• Rob Harrison “The Tumbling Bear” aerobatics in his Zlin 142C
• Paul “Sticky” Strickland – L-39 Albatros jet
• Patriot Parachute Team
• Bill Braack in the Jet Pick-Up Truck Smoke-n-Thunder
• NASA ER-2 High Altitude Science Aircraft flyover
• Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV and the Yakovlev Yak-3 Warbird
flyovers by the Commemorative Air Force Southern California’s
Wing – Camarillo
• North American F-86F Sabre, Lockheed P-38J Lightning,
North American P-51 Mustang, Vought F4U-1 Corsair and the
North American B-25J Mitchell Warbird flyovers by the Planes
of Fame Air Museum
On the ground, get up close to these aircraft:
• Bell AH-1S Cobra
• Piper PA23-250 Geronimo Aztec
• MDD F-15C Eagle NASA
• Lockheed L-12A Electra Jr
• Eurocopter MH-65 Dolphin US Coast Guard
• Cessna 182 Skylane Civil Air Patrol
• Airbus Helicopter AS350 B2 A-Star LA Sheriff Dept
• Republic RC-3 Seabee
• Lockheed L-18 Lodestar
Additionally, there are seminars featuring the following:
• Out of the Black; The First Flight of the F-117 Nighthawk Stealth
• Breaking Barriers: Women in Aviation
• Free Falling from Space
• Going Downtown — The Air War in Vietnam
• White Knights and Starry Skies — The Voyage Toward
Civilian Space Travelers
Providing music on Saturday is the all-female vocal group Satin Dollz from Hollywood.
LA County Air Show 5 Top Tips
1.) Bring a chair. The GA tickets allow you to put down a chair. Use this as your “home base.” Several people line up along the fence parallel to the runway. It doesn’t matter if you’re a few people back from the fence because all the action is above you, not in front of you.
2.) Arrive Before Noon. The air show starts at noon but gates open at 9. If you’re there in place by noon, then you won’t miss a thing and can walk around beforehand to the displays and concessions. Sometime around 11 is ideal.
3,) Bring Ear Plugs For Kids. Air shows are not as constantly loud as auto races and you don’t need earplugs. However, if have young kids, ti’s a good idea for them to wear ear protection.
4.) Social Media. The event hashtag is #lacountyairshow, but this does you little good at the event because the signal is so weak you can’t post to social media.
5.) Parking: Don’t be in a hurry to leave. Otherwise, it may take 30 minutes to get out of the parking lot.
LA County Air Show Fast Facts
• Location: General William J. Fox Airfield, 4555 W Avenue G # 1, Lancaster, CA
• Tickets: GA $25 in advance, $30 at gate. VIP: $100-1,000
• Parking: $10
• Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
• Seating: No bleaches but lawn chairs and towels are allowed into the show.
• Event Website: lacountyairshow.com.