It’s been a cold, wet winter for many parts of the country, but warmer temps and longer days are just around the corner. With these small blessings, spring brings something else: the opportunity for aviation aficionados to spend fun-filled weekends with friends and family at the many fantastic air shows that run throughout the country from April to October. If you’re wondering where to plan your vacation this year, we’ve done the work for you. Each show offers something a little different, so keep reading to figure out which one is best for you.
If you can’t wait for summer, travel to sunny Lakeland, Florida for the Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo from March 31-April 5. Highlights include a hare-and-hounds balloon chase, specialty and exotic warbirds (if you own one and want to participate, you can score some great benefits), and a star-studded team of civilian and military performers including the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and the U.S. Army Black Daggers. If you want even more variety, stop by the Seaplane-A-Palooza on your way to see Seaplanes complete and play in the air.
The Dayton Air Show in Dayton, OH boasts a host of civilian and military performances, including the famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels and a thrilling reenactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by aircraft used in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! Take the kids for a ride in a Huey helicopter or play at the Vectren Kids Hangar.
Escape the summer heat and humidity with a trip to the EAA Airventure show in Oshkosh, WI July 20-26. Highlights include the Canadian Forces Snowbirds team and the U.S. Air Force Special Operations team. More than 10,000 private pilots will take to the air at this family-friendly event, where kids under 18 are admitted for free. If you’re bringing an aircraft, the nearby Saker GCK can take care of the details so you can have a stress free weekend to enjoy the show.
There are two chances to see top-tier military exhibitions in September. Visit the home of Air Force One just outside the nation’s capital for the Joint Base Andrews Air Show, where you’ll find a full arsenal of Navy, Air Force and Marine aircraft and military flight history performances spanning four decades. If that’s not enough, travel to San Diego, California later in the month for the Miramar Air Show. The location of the classic 1980’s movie Top Gun and former home of the Blue Angels, Miramar is the place to go if you feel the need for speed. Highlights include the Blue Angels, the A-10 Thunderbolt tank killer, modern fighters jets the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and F-22 Raptor, and iconic warbirds of the past.
Whether you’re a pilot, a military buff, or just want to have a fun vacation with the kids, there’s something for everyone at these top tier airshows. So get ready for a fun-filled season, sit back, and take in the thrill and wonder of flight.