The lineup for next week’s March Air Reserve Base Air & Space Expo was confirmed Friday, promising two days of supersonic jet demonstrations, mock dogfights, aerobatics, vintage warbirds and other low-flying, high-speed entertainment.
The air fest is set for April 7 and 8 at the Moreno Valley base, which holds air shows every two years but is making this event the centerpiece of its centennial celebration, looking back on 100 years of military aviation — and forward to what the future holds for air power.
Attendance at previous shows has exceeded a half million over the two-day period.
In keeping with tradition, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will be the show stopper, performing a series of eye-rolling formation and breakout maneuvers for nearly an hour in F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Both mornings will feature a mix of yesteryear and modern aircraft performances, including Vicki Benzing in her Boeing Stearman, John Collver in his T-6 Texan and Anthony Oshinuga in his Pitts S-1.
The U.S. Army’s Golden Knights parachute team will make a formation drop over the airfield, and March’s 452nd Air Mobility Wing will deploy some of its aircraft for the show, featuring flyovers by mammoth C-17 Globemasters and KC-135 air tankers.
The crews will also demonstrate an aerial refueling operation.
An Air Force F-16 is slated to give a “wall of fire” demo — well away from onlookers — and a “planes of fame” flight will feature a P-51 Mustang with other World War II-era combat planes.
A mock dogfight between an American F-86 Sabre and a Russian-made MiG-15 will run about 10 minutes, and a U.S. Army flight crew is expected to put a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter through a series of low-level maneuvers.
The Air National Guard is scheduled to fly an MQ-9 drone to exhibit how the unmanned aerial vehicles are launched and recovered.
Veteran aviator Greg Coyler will be on hand, flying his Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, used for decades as a basic jet trainer in the U.S. Armed Services.
There will be a large inventory of aircraft for celebrants to check out on the tarmac, as well as other equipment displays, according to base officials. A number of vendors will be on-site selling food and beverages.
Admission to the fest and parking on base will be free.
More information is available at marchairshow.com.