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Photo Gallery: NAS Point Mugu Air Show (2023)

March 18: Bleary-eyed, I filled my travel mug with coffee and hit the road. It was 7:30 AM and, a few minutes later, my phone started to ring. “Am I ahead of you, or are you ahead of me?” my friend asked on the other end of the line. “You’re definitely ahead of me.”

The country roads that lead to Naval Air Station Point Mugu were, well, like a drive in the country… until they weren’t. As traffic came to a standstill, the way the road curved up ahead revealed this backup was miles-long. The top of the hangars on the base were just barely visible over the horizon.

Finally on base and parked, I dropped a pin on my navigation app and walked to the long line. I happened to spot my friend and his young son and, 45 minutes later, we were finally through the security check and into the event area.

The air show space was huge. Collections of aircraft on static display were off to the left, straight ahead, and to the right. There were UAV/drone systems, surveillance planes, fighter jets, cargo planes, and beyond the bike racks, the “hot ramp” where performers parked their aircraft. Nearby were the stars of the show: the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. It’s an incredibly rare treat to get both at the same air show.

Now, with that intro, I will let the photos tell the story of the day.

U.S. Navy skydiver parachuting with a California state flag - photo by KilmerMedia

Thunderbirds Commander / Leader Lt. Col. Justin Elliott preparing for a flight demonstration - photo by KilmerMedia

Four U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performing - photo by KilmerMedia

USAF Thunderbirds Approaching in Formation - photo by KilmerMedia

Four USAF Thunderbirds flyover at the Point Mugu Air Show - photo by KilmerMedia

U.S. Marines T-6 Texan flyby at the Point Mugu Air Show - photo by KilmerMedia

Blue Angels "Fat Albert" C-130 Cargo Plane - photo by KilmerMedia

U.S. Navy Blue Angeles F-18 Super Hornet fighter jet preparing for a flight demonstration - photo by KilmerMedia

U.S. Navy Blue Angels jets 5 and 6 flying together - photo by KilmerMedia

Two U.S. Navy Blue Angels jets performing a close pass - photo by KilmerMedia

Two U.S. Navy Blue Angels jets flying, with one aircraft inverted - photo by KilmerMedia

Blue Angels flying in formation - photo by KilmerMedia

Four US Navy jet flying in formation near Laguna Peak - photo by KilmerMedia

Actor Gary Sinise performing with the Lt. Dan Band - photo by KilmerMedia

Some of the demonstrations at this two-day event included:

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

U.S. Navy Blue Angels & C-130J "Fat Albert" demo

USN Leap Frogs flag jump

USN MH-60R/MH-60S Seahawks flyby

PT-17 Stearman aerobatics, piloted by Vicky Benzing

USCG MH-65 search & rescue demo

Pacific War re-enactment featuring a F6F Hellcat, Japanese Zero, and B-25 PBJ

Red Bull MBB Bo 105 helicopter aerobatics

AT-6 Texan "War Dog" demo, piloted by John Collver

Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules water drop demo

Some of the 30+ static displays included:

F-35 Lighting II

Commemorative Air Force T-6 Texan

Commemorative Air Force Fairchild PT-19A Cornell

Hawker Hunter

Sonex Aircraft SubSonex mini jet

VX-9 (Air Test and Evaluation Squadron) black Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet

MQ-8C Fire Scout drone helicopter

Israeli F-21A Kfir fighter

Lockheed P-3C Orion

Icon A5 amphibious LSA

1946 North American Navion

Fairchild 24R-46 Argus

Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk

Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

According to the official site, this airshow at Naval Air Station Pt. Mugu should return in 2025 or 2026.


"Photo Essay: NAS Point Mugu Air Show (2023)"

by Justin J. Kilmer

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