El Centro Airshow 2012

By: Category: AirshowsRoad trips


Last Saturday, NAF El Centro hosted their 2012 airshow. This was my first ever Naval airshow, and it didn’t disappoint.

The show opened with the Navy Leapfrogs parachuting team, launching out of one of their C-2 Greyhounds, followed by the National Anthem and some civilian performers, including Tim Weber. A different civilian performer was a jet-powered International Transtar 4300, which fired up the afterburners on the runway while one of the Pitts was flying over. Then it was time for the military performers, which included two F/A-18E from the VFA-122 “Flying Eagles”, one of them flying solo, demonstrating the capabilities of the Super Hornet and another one doing a heritage flight with a CAF Bearcat.  Then the Navy Longhorns, out of NAS Fallon did a SAR demonstration with one of their MH-60S Knighthawks. Finally, the Blue Angels performance started with the C-130 demo (which wasn’t the regular Fat Albert plane, it was a plain USMC C-130), and the Blue Angels themselves.

The civilian performers were flying too far away from the crowd to make good photos possible, but the performances could still be enjoyed. And the heritage flight was a cool performance too. The Blue Angels made a last minute change and swapped airplane 5 for 7, one of the twin-seaters, and the mechanics towed 5 away. I was confused for a minute, as the mechanics were hooking up the tow truck while doing the usual choreography, and I didn’t know if that was part of the show or not.

Also remarkable were the Imperial Stormtroopers, which I was told were the Imperial County (or Imperial City) police, complete with Darth Vader and everything.

One thing that I was very disappointed with was the behavior of some visitors, some of them from other continents, who tried to sneak out of the designated public or media boxes to go closer to the action in multiple occasions.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone at NAF El Centro, military and civilian, who made this show happen (this includes the CHP officers, who manually directed traffic while everyone made their way out of the base, preventing a chaos like that one at Luke last year)

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