NAS Oceana 2018 Airshow

report by: Harry Morrow

Naval Air Station Oceana hosted the 2018 Air Show, scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Sept. 22 and 23.The 2018 Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show was planned, set up and performed by Naval Air Station Oceana personnel and required the skills and knowledge of all Sailors stationed there. Thousands of hours were spent in making this the Navy’s largest public outreach event. This year’s air show was designed to be the biggest one yet.

A Master Jet Base provides homeporting of aircraft carrier-based planes in relatively close proximity to carrier landing practice fields. In addition, NAS Oceana is home to many critical Naval Commands such as; Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic, Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, Strike Fighter Weapons School and many more.

The theme of this year’s air show was Naval Air Station Oceana 75th Anniversary. Originally opened in 1943 in the mudflats of Virginia Beach, Naval Air Station Oceana is now the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base and home to all of Naval Aviation’s F-18 Hornets and Super Hornets.  This year’s featured flight demonstrations was held by the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, and the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds.

The Super Hornet remains for the time being the backbone of the Carrier Air Wing, but will soon share that position with the incoming F-35C Lightning II. Needless to say, the Master Jet Base is the epicenter of Naval Strike Fighter Aviation. The ramps and hangars are packed with Hornets under maintenance, returning from and preparing for deployments. Many Hornet and Super Hornet took part to the flying display during the Air Power Demo that opened  flying cession during Oceana Airshow 2018. This démonstration was featured as a mock dogfight , an air –refuelling and ground attack  with many pyrotechnics .

The USAF also made an appearance with their premiere air dominance fighter, the F-22 Raptor. This year, the Raptor’s appearance was also a homecoming for pilot Major Paul “Loco” Lopez, a member of the F-22 Raptor Demo Team. We know pretty much everything about the aircraft flown by Major Lopez: the Raptor is capable of both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions and is considered “stealth” (or LO – low observable) which makes it near impossible for enemies to locate on radar.

Saturday and Sunday, were the public’s opportunity to see a variety of presentations from naval aviators and civilian performers. Saturday’s on-base event was complemented with an evening performance and Beach Blast celebration Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. at Neptune Park, on 31st Street, on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.  Additional air show performances included Geico Skytypers, Mike Goulian (Extra 330sc), Kent Pietsch (Jelly Belly Interstate Cadet), Bob Carlton (Salto Jet Sailplane), Jim Tobul (Corsair), Greg Shelton (Wildcat), Warrior Flight Team, F/A-18F Super Hornet Demonstration, Air Power Demonstration, F-22 Raptor Demonstration, Bill Leff (USAF Heritage Flight), Black Daggers U.S. Army Parachute Team, Skydive Suffolk Jump Team, Flashfire Aftershock Jet Firetruck and Firewalkers Pyrotechnics. Globalairpower was lucky enough to have Harry into the place, to make this report.