Looking Back at Past Joint Base Andrews Air Shows


The Washington DC area is served by multiple military bases, but the largest is now called Joint Base Andrews. Once an airport where the Navy and Marines operated one side of the aerodrome and the Air Force managed the other side, it is now combined as the name states, with Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and various Reserve units operating aircraft from its parallel runways.

What a place to see an air show!  The Joint Services Open Houses used to occur yearly around the Armed Forces Day weekend in May of each year, and drew some unique military and civilian aircraft. On occasion, a special anniversary would be honored, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and what seemed like the entire Washington DC headquarters staff from all of the military branches turned out – to marching bands and a sea of flags flying their campaign ribbons.  The last Joint Services Open House occurred in 2012, followed by two years of cancellations due to budget cuts and restrictions.

Some of these shows brought out some rare active military aircraft which have since been retired from service. Fighters like the F-4 Phantom and F-14 Tomcat made regular flying performances back then, but have vanished from U.S. skies today.

In 2015, the Joint Base Andrews Air Show returned in September, and will continue to run every other year, during the late summer.

The 2017 Joint Base Andrews Air Show will feature the Air Force Thunderbirds, and a group of warbirds will be  in the air. The Class of ’45 features a Corsair and Mustang in an aerobatic routine, the GEICO Skytypers fly SNJ-2s in formation aerobatics an maneuvers, and other aircraft mentioned that will be in the air in September 2017 include a B-17, B-25, and the Tora! Tora! Tora! group reenacting World War II aviation history. Additionally, “Doc”, only the second B-29 to be restored to flyable condition in the world, will be flying.  The dates are September 16th and 17th.

Here are a series of warbird photos of those that have appeared in past Joint Services Open Houses at Andrews AFB during the 1990s and into the new millennium. Most of these aircraft and pilots will not be at the 2017 event.

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