US Air Shows: Awe-Inspiring Aerobatics

Enjoy the shock and awe of amazing aerobatics and more at these popular air shows in the United States.

By: Ty Sawyer
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Daring pilots flew around the country during the 1920s to show off both their skill and the wonders of the flying machines. Today, aviation aficionados travel to witness the daredevil aerobatics of the US Navy’s Blue Angels, the US Air Force’s Thunderbirds and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, and to see at the planes from past and modern eras. Here are a few air shows you should not miss out on seeing if you’re in the United States.
Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo (Lakeland, FL)
Sun N Fun International Fly In, Florida

Sun N Fun International Fly In, Florida

Photo by: Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT/Getty Images

Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT/Getty Images

For 38-years, at the end of March or April,  the skies above Lakeland, Florida have filled with planes from around the globe for the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo. From top Military and civilian teams and individual air show performers to exhibitors showcasing the latest planes on the market, if you like aviation, then Central Florida is the place to be each April. You’ll also find planes and pilots for ultralights and kit planes to float planes. And, there are plenty of people that will take you up for a flight in all kinds of aircraft.

Dayton Air Show (Dayton, OH)
Dayton Air Show, Ohio

Dayton Air Show, Ohio

Photo by: Mike Simons/Getty Images

Mike Simons/Getty Images

Every July, the Dayton Air Show, in Dayton, OH, features demos and flybys that span all eras of flight, from a replica of the Wright Brother’s B Flyer to the vector-shaped USAF B-2 stealth bomber. Some of the coolest performers are the Tora Tora Tora team that reenacts the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 with fiery explosions and Japanese Zero’s. A Red Bull stunt helicopter and a Hall of Fame stunt airplane pilot named Sean Tucker (a regular on the airshow circuit), will leave you breathless with their physics-defying tricks. And for a real taste of the action, take a ride on Huey and Cobra helicopters.

Oshkosh EAA AirVenture Show (Oshkosh, WI)
Oshkosh EAA Air Venture Show, Wisconsin

Oshkosh EAA Air Venture Show, Wisconsin

Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Every July, more than 10,000 private pilots warm up their engines to make their annual pilgrimage to the Oshkosh EAA AirVenture Show. Spectators converge on Wisconsin’s Whitman Regional Airport to celebrate the fact that flying planes, of any kind, from a basic Piper Cub to a stealthy F22 Raptor, is cool. You’ll talk flying, tell tall flying tales, admire other pilot’s skills and planes, watch movies about pilots, and get to see the latest in experimental aircraft. And, if you’re in the market for or have the desire to build your own plane, then this is your heaven.

Reno Air Races (Reno, NV)
Reno Air Races, Nevada

Reno Air Races, Nevada

Photo by: George Rose/Getty Images

George Rose/Getty Images

For 48 years, pilots have been lining up to go head to head at the Reno Air Races in Nevada. Six classes of aircraft manned by pilots with nerves of steel and a true “need for speed” fill the air above Reno’s Stead Field for five days in mid-September. Civilian, amateur and ex-military pilots race around courses from 3 to 8 miles in length and defined by pylons. Aerobatic pilots try to keep spectators in their seats between races, When you do move around, get a close look at, and even touch, some of the military’s top aeronautical technology on display on the airfield, which sit alongside some of the best examples of planes that define our aviation heritage.

Joint Base Andrews Air Show (Camp Springs, MD)
Andrews Air Force Base, Air Show

Andrews Air Force Base, Air Show

Photo by: Rich Lipski/The Washington Post/Getty Images-

Rich Lipski/The Washington Post/Getty Images-

If it flies and is included in the aviation arsenal of the US Navy, Air Force, Marines or Army it’ll take to the sky at the Joint Base Andrews Air Show in September. This airshow takes place at Andrews Air Force Base just east of Washington, DC, which houses Air Force One. And when the active military aren’t aloft, aerobatic performers and heritage flights with planes from 4 decades of military flight history may leave you with a crick in your neck, and a sense of awe.

Miramar Air Show (San Diego, CA)
Miramar air show, San Diego, California

Miramar air show, San Diego, California

Photo by: Anton Hlushchenko/Hemera/Getty Images

Anton Hlushchenko/Hemera/Getty Images

Usually at the end of September or early October, the Miramar Air Show demonstrates just why US military pilots dominate the world’s airspace. It all takes place at one of the sites where the 1980’s flim Top Gun was filmed. The US Navy Blue Angels provide aerial acrobatics. Other aircraft from the modern US arsenal, such as the tank killing A-10 Thunderbolt, and the F15 Eagle, F16 Fighting Falcon, and F22 Raptor fighter jets, perform and are on display next to past warbirds like the P51 Mustang, the A1 Skyraider, F4 Phantom and TBM Avenger. Static displays of airplanes, and biplane aerobatics will keep your eye to the sky.

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