Fighter jets, air transports and aerobatics teams will be returning to March Air Reserve Base following a five-year hiatus in what will be the inaugural “Southern California Air Show,” it was announced Thursday.
The two-day event is scheduled for the weekend of April 22-23 on the airfield, located just east of Interstate 215, at Ellsworth Street and Cactus Avenue.
The Southern California Air Show is the de facto replacement of the March ARB Air Fest, which was nixed in both 2020 and 2022. The first cancellation stemmed directly from the base’s coronavirus public health lockdown, and the 2022 show was dropped after base administrators expressed concerns about potential ongoing exposure risks among large crowds.
The last public airborne event at the base was the 2018 March ARB Air Fest in April of that year.
The marquee event of the Southern California Air Show will be the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, performing a variety of coordinated maneuvers in their F-16 Fighting Falcons.
The Patriots Jet Team, flying L-39 single-seat trainers, will also perform both days, along with the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet West Coast Demo Team.
The Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster West Coast Demo Team will also go aloft that weekend, taking the mammoth transports through paces over Moreno Valley and Riverside. C-17s are part of March’s staple air contingent, regularly seen in the skies within the base’s defined airspace.
“Additional performances will be provided by the Canadian SkyHawks Parachute Team and the A-10 Thunderbolt Demo Team, among others,” according to a base statement. “A free concert is planned after the show ends near show center, from the back of a C-17.”
Numerous aircraft static displays will be part of the program, featuring an F-35 Lightning, an F-22 Raptor, a supersonic B-1B Lancer bomber, a C-5 Galaxy, a C-130 Hercules, as well as a host of others, both military and civilian.
More information is available at socalairshow.com/.
The biennial air fests of the previous decade generally drew more than 150,000 visitors over two days.