AutoMatters & More: 2019 MCAS Miramar Air Show

Aerial refueling demonstration
Aerial refueling demonstration
(Jan Wagner)

There will not be a 2020 Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air Show, due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the bright side, most of my coverage of the 2019 show has not been published – until now.

You may recall that last year I wrote a 2019 Miramar Air Show column about the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. I was fortunate to have ridden in the plane with them, during which I took still photos and video through the door as they jumped out of the plane above the air show, at around 12,000 feet (it was VERY cold up there). Check that out here: https://drivetribe.com/p/along-for-the-ride-with-the-united-eZ62ApPjSD-blfKKclWJvg?iid=a3G8pR3lTyaXLP-HSY5tGQ

Jessy Panzer & Sean Tucker
Jessy Panzer & Sean Tucker
(Jan Wagner)

The theme of the air show was “A Salute to First Responders.” We all depend on these brave firefighters, paramedics and police officers who spend countless hours away from their families, often risking their lives to save others. They have this saying, according to David Edwards, assistant chief of operations for the MCAS Miramar Fire Department, who quoted “the old guys there who said “we’re not paid for what we do; we’re paid for what we’re willing to do.” Think about that. Sgt. Jake McClung of the MCAS Miramar Office of Communication explained it this way, in the air show program: “Each day first responders come into work not knowing what to expect. One minute everything is calm and peaceful and the next they could be rushing toward the sounds of chaos.”

In addition to the U.S. Army Golden Knights, the MCAS Miramar Airshow featured many spectacular demonstrations, culminating with a thrilling performance by the United States Navy Blue Angels.

MAGTF simulated combat assault
MAGTF simulated combat assault
(Jan Wagner)

John Collver flew “Wardog,” his restored 1944 Marine SNJ-5 Texan. This flight trainer served carrier and land-based duty for U.S. Forces, and also “was sent to Japan to serve in the Japanese Self Defense Force.”

The Darnell Racing Enterprises “AFTERSHOCK” Jet Fire Truck is based on a 1940 fire truck. It features twin Rolls-Royce Bristol Viper Jet Engines producing over 24,000 horsepower, capable of propelling it to a Guinness Record speed of 407 MPH for the title of fastest fire truck! Military grade parachutes slow it back down.

Sean Tucker and Jessy Panzer flew their distinctive red and white aerobatic planes in close formation, with exciting loops, splits and opposing solos; performing such maneuvers as the Hammerhead, Avalanche, Immelman and a Torque Circle; and finishing with a Speedo Heart departure.

RAF Red Arrows Aerobatic Team
RAF Red Arrows Aerobatic Team
(Jan Wagner)

With over 8,500 hours of flight time and over 1,300 parachute jumps, Airline Transport Pilot-rated Vicky Benzing entertained the crowds flying her beautiful, red, 1940 Boeing Stearman biplane.

MAGTF stands for Marine Air-Ground Task Force. This explosive demonstration is a display of Marine Corps power. F/A-18 Hornets and AV-8B Harriers flew overhead, helicopter-borne Marines rappelled from the sky, and infantry platoons – along with armored vehicles, moved in a precisely coordinated, simulated combat assault – all in front of the audience.

Air Force veteran Jon Melby piloted his extreme HANGAR 24-sponsored Pitts S-1-11B aerobatic biplane, pulling over 8G’s positive and 4G’s negative during his 28-maneuvers routine.

Contrasting new and old air power, the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight featured close formation flying with an F-16 Viper and a vintage P-51 fighter.

Precision flying by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels
Precision flying by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels
(Jan Wagner)

Visiting San Diego from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, England, as part of their 2019 tour of the U.S. and Canada, the Red Arrows Aerobatic Team, flying British-built BAE Systems Hawk T1 jets, performed breath-takingly close maneuvers, demonstrating the speed, agility and precision of the Royal Air Force. As stated by Air Chief Marshal Michael Wigston CBE ADC, Chief of the Air Staff, this tour celebrated “strong and enduring partnerships with our Canadian and United States allies.”

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels have been showcasing naval aviation and thrilling audiences since 1946. Stationed at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, during the air show season, the squadron spends January through March training at Naval Air Facility El Centro, in California. A few years ago, I was given the honor of flying on board “Fat Albert” – the Blue Angels C-130T Hercules aircraft, piloted by Captain Katie Higgins, during a rehearsal flight for the NAF El Centro Air Show. You can enjoy that bucket list experience, including seeing what happens during Zero-G flight, in AutoMatters & More #376, entitled “Let’s Take a Thrill Ride on Fat Albert”: https://drivetribe.com/p/lets-take-a-thrill-ride-on-fat-M1dkKUKrT6qCBUP9YUEQOg?iid=IBfXG-u9QpuaZY7htF7Ziw

To see additional photos, visit www.drivetribe.com, click on the magnifying glass, select “POSTS” and enter “AutoMatters & More #650” in their search bar. Please send your comments to AutoMatters@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2020 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #650


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