By Nadin Abbott
Photos by Tom Abbott
October 11, 2012 (Miramar Marine Corp Air Station)—This weekend’s air show at Miramar is the largest show in the continental United States, according to Lt. Col. Farnan. Visitors to the base can expect to see “more civilian and military aircraft in one place” than anywhere else.
The V-22 Osprey, an aircraft capable of vertical take off and landing (VTOL) will be showcased at this year’s show. It is used to transport 24 fully equipped troops as well as equipment. It is considered a versatile aircraft that is multi-mission capable.
Things that visitors can expect are the popular MAGTAV, the exercise where the Marines mock taking over the tarmac. Also there will be a night show, with fireworks displays. Moreover the Osprey will do a separate show.
Faran emphasized good relations with the community. As he put it, “San Diego is unbelievable. I cannot thank San Diego enough.”
Do’s and Dont’s…
According to Lt. Col. Evan R. Wahl, the Station Operations Officer, they actually expect clear weather during the weekend. Hence they do not expect the air show “to be weather affected.” If the cloud ceiling drops to 1,000 feet or below, however, that could lead to a change in the event schedule.
The base expects to see at least half a million visitors over the three days, perhaps all the way to three quarters of a million. So be patient when arriving and leaving. There is plenty of parking as well.
Wahl said that people should avoid large bags, and if you must carry items, bring a small bag. Expect that to be checked, and there will be assistance from the TSA. Coolers will not be allowed in, and he asks people to use sunscreen. Bring hats, glasses and yes, hearing protection since it will get loud.
Wahl also said that dehydration is a common problem. If people need water, it will be available at the Air show.
Among the most popular attractions at the show are the Blue Angels. We had an opportunity to talk to Lt. Commander Dave Tickle. He is the pilot of the Number Six bird. This means that part of his job is to show you the full capabilities of the F-18 Super Hornet. His favorite maneuver is to come from behind the crowd and then take the fighter almost vertical and engage in fast turns and loops. As Tickle explained this showcases the ability of the fighter to sneak behind you.
Tickle is 31 year old and hails from Birmingham. He considers “flying with the Blue Angels to be a high honor.” They are ambassadors from both the Navy and the Maine Corp to the American people.
Before joining the team he did two combat deployments on board the USS Enterprise and logged twelve hundred and fifty hours of flight time. Pilots in the team come from the Tactical Air Fighter communities. Moreover, the F-18 he flies, “is the same fighter our pilots fly currently on deployments around the world.”
The team is highly competitive, and this year out thirty pilots who applied, only two made it. This team is just as competitive for maintenance and support staff.
For the purpose of the show they will not break the sound barrier, since “we don’t want top break any windows.”
We learned from the staff as well that if there was a need, these fighters can be turned around and be combat ready within 72 hours. They also have the same avionics package as the rest of the fighters in the fleet. The C-130 that accompanies the team is operated fully by Marine Corp Personnel.
This year is also the Centennial of Marine Aviation and the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 with the British. (This is the war when the White House was burned.)
The team has two number seven planes. They are two seaters, and are used to take up photographers, VIPs, and future team members to familiarize them with their position.
One word of caution, the CHP will enforce no parking on the freeway and SDPD will tow vehicles away. If you want to go to the show, go on base and have some fun.