RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CNS) -- The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, skydivers, air tankers, World War II warbirds and nimble aerobatic aircraft are taking to the skies over March Air Reserve Base this weekend, for the base's first weekend air show in five years.
"It's free family fun that you can't experience anywhere else," March ARB said on social media.
The "Southern California Air Show" began Saturday and will continue on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. No aerial entertainment has been scheduled at the base since April 2018. This weekend's events are free.
March ARB is located just east of Interstate 215, at Ellsworth Street and Cactus Avenue. Maps and other details regarding the show and base access are available at socalairshow.com.
The event is the de facto replacement of the biennial March ARB "Air Fest," which was nixed in both 2020 and 2022. The first cancellation stemmed 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 show's marquee event -- and the capstone on both days -- will be the Thunderbirds, performing a variety of coordinated maneuvers in their F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Organizers said more than a dozen other acts will fill the spectator menu, with the action running virtually non-stop over seven hours.
The Canadian Skyhawks Jump Team will make a group skydive to mark the start of action, followed almost immediately by the base's staple aircraft, a KC-135 air tanker and C-17 transport, delivering demonstrations.
John Collver and his "War Dog" T-6 Texan will provide hijinks over the field, after which the F-18 Super Hornet West Coast Demo Team will run through a series of high-speed stunts.
A supersonic B-1B variable-sweep wing bomber will buzz the base prior to "dead-stick" spin, snap rolls and other aerobatics by Ed Hamill in his Pitts biplane.
The Patriots Jet Team, flying L-39 single-seat trainers, will also perform, along with Vicky Benzing in her classic Boeing Stearman.
A mock dogfight will be staged, pitting an F-86 Sabre against a Russian MiG-15, complete with smoke trails and gunfire sound effects.
"A free concert is planned after the show ends near show center, from the back of a C-17," according to March ARB
Numerous aircraft static displays will be part of the program, featuring an F-35 Lightning, an F-22 Raptor, a C-5 Galaxy, a C-130 Hercules, as well as a host of others, both military and civilian.
The biennial air fests of the previous decade generally drew more than 150,000 visitors over two days.
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