The annual NAS Oceana airshow was held on September 17-18. The show was headlined by the US Navy Blue Angels, but featured several other jet demos and some of the top name civilian performers. The weather was absolutely some of the best comparatively to years past with nice skies and comfortable temperatures. The show is always well attended, but this year it seemed to be a larger crowd. There was a noticeable difference in the static display size, with very few aircraft on static display. The Andrews AFB show was held the same weekend, and many people speculated that USAF assets went to that show. However, many of the squadron CAG jets were out for review. Several were back in the “zoo” (the storage area during the show), which was disappointing. But the aerial performance was strong and had a good variety of aircraft and acts.
US Navy Leap Frogs
The show opened with the Leap Frogs jumping in the flag and several demonstrations of canopy relative work. It is their first time performing at Oceana in a number of years, and it was great to see them again. The team is made up of active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and support personnel. The team jumped from a MH-53C helicopter from HM-12 “Sea Dragons”.
USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team
The Viper returned to Oceana with Capt. Aimee “Rebel” Fiedler piloting “Venom” the specially painted F-16 demo jet. She flies a great demo and had some vapes on the photo pass.
Bob Carlton’s Jet Powered Glider
Bob Carlton brought his
Fleet Air Power Demo
The Air Power Demonstration is a brief glimpse at the Carrier’s might. The squadrons that participated this year included: VFA-87 “Golden Warriors”, VFA-105 “Gunslingers”, VFA-213 “Black Lions”, VFA-32 “Swordsmen”, VFA-31 “Tomcatters”, VFA-131 “Wildcats”, VFA-83 “Rampagers”. Demos included air-to-air air combat maneuvers, several different air-to-ground delivery simulations and air-to-air refueling.
US Coast Guard
The US Coast Guard had representation for the first time in a number of years. A HC-130 Hercules and MH-60 Jayhawk from Air Station Elizabeth City flew a formation pass, followed by a solo pass of each.
Skip Stewart muscled his highly modified Pitts aircraft known as “Prometheus” though a high-energy routine. He is a difficult act to photograph since the plane is constantly moving on all axis, but he is a fantastic act to watch.
Matt Younkin flew his Twin Beech 18 “Miss Ellie” through an aerobatic routine that defies what the aircraft was designed to do. Although not traditionally known as an aerobatic aircraft, Matt shows that it indeed can perform rolls and loops! Great routine with lots of smoke.
US Navy F-35C Lightning II Demo
To me, the F-35C demo stole this year’s show. The “Charlie” model is the Navy and Marine Corps fixed-wing version of the F-35, which features a larger wing for better handling during the landing sequence on an aircraft carrier and more robust landing gear. The F-35 is the fleet’s stealth strike-fighter, and is an impressive machine. Love all the noise and vapes!
US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet East Coast Demo
Although I enjoyed the F-35 demo, the hometown Super Hornet demo was still impressive! The team is based at NAS Oceana and participates in about a dozen shows a year, primarily on the East Coast. The team is made up of instructors from VFA-106 Gladiators, the East Coast RAG (FRS) squadron. We were hoping for a vape cone, but the conditions were not letting it happen.
US Navy Legacy Flight
The CAF Dixie Wing F4U/FG-1 Corsair was on hand to fly along with the F-35 and F/A-18 demo teams to perform the Legacy Flight. It was great to see and the wing fold salute at the end is what caps off performance. Fly Navy!
Hayden Proffitt – Hot Streak Jet Truck
Hayden Proffitt II performed and raced in his “Hot Streak II” jet truck. Hayden is the grandson of NHRA legend, Hayden Proffitt, and a veteran of the USAF. His truck, a highly modified 1957 Chevy with two jet engines, 25,000 horsepower and capable of 350+ MPH!!
US Navy’s Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team
I started and ended my 2022 airshow season with the Blue Angels. The team performed a very tight routine and looked great going into the final third of their performance season.
Around the Field
Here are a few highlights from the static display.