Miramar Airshow, San Diego, California 22-24 September 2017
Report by Peter Davison
Of all the US West Coast military airshows, the US Marine Corps at Miramar is a must see with only Edwards AFB having similar status. This massive base, well away from public view, is home to the training and attack squadrons of F-18 Hornets and the new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors, backed up by C-130 Hercules and H-53 Sea Stallions. With an aggressive ‘can do’ Marine Corps mission it was a welcome change to witness an attack demonstration rather than just civilian demonstrations.
Security was paramount and obvious; only transparent bags, chairs but not coolers and a photo ID check for all the 150,000 visitors per day allowed access but it was handled politely and efficiently.
The static park was well spaced and comprehensive; vintage props, general aviation and all manner of military hardware was on show mostly accompanied by informed personnel willing to engage with an interested public. Unfortunately the flightline was largely reserved for VIPs and those purchasing enclosure upgrades making the extreme east and west portions crowded with often empty garden chairs and space possessive family groups but most of the excitement was aerial and therefore visible to the masses.
Unusually the final display item was the F-35 Lightning rather than the Blue Angels who had a mid-afternoon slot. The flying displays only commenced after the noon time obligatory anthem and flag honouring; the event was dedicated to Vietnam veterans who are now diminishing in number; each individual was honoured in some way. The early afternoon featured a Marine Corps attack demonstration with AV-8Bs and Hornets providing cover for a helicopter assault.
A tight and professional formation demonstration from the ‘Patriots’ team of six L-39 Albatrosses added aerial interest between fast cars, flame-throwing trucks that made up a thoroughly American kick-ass commentary against a background of heavy nationalistic rock anthems.
As the primary Marine Corps base on the west coast this show regularly provides an insight into the American military and its potential. This base alone holds more fire power than many nations.