NAS Oceana Air Shows – Looking Back

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Naval Air Station Oceana, jut east of the city of Norfolk – in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is the East Coast’s Master Jet Base and near the home of the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Ocean-based aircraft carriers. The carrier’s Air Wings’ fighter and attack aircraft most likely call Oceana home.  The main airfield at the base is known as Apollo Soucek Field, after the Navy pilot (and later Vice Admiral) who attained a world record altitude of more than 43,000 feet in 1930.

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The base has hosted many Open Houses and Air Shows over the years, with more recent ones attracting military performers from all Service Branches, and many civilian aerobatic and warbird aircraft and crews too. Most have high performance routines, or a lot of noise, or both!

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The main attraction s the home-based jets… formerly F-4 Phantoms, the A-6 Intruder attack jets, then the mighty F-14 Tomcats, and finally the Hornet and Super Hornet squadrons of today. An Airpower Demonstration, complete with pyrotechnic effects, show off some of the capabilities of the home town pilots practice, and large multi-ship formations, including a finale called the “Fleet Flyby” at some times in the past, are presented. Long an air show favorite, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat was publically retired during a noisy 2006 air show at Oceana, and a fair amount of afterburner clears the skies during the weekend shows.

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This year (2017), the Navy’s Blue Angels headline the show, which includes the aforementioned Navy jet fighter demonstrations, the Air Force’s F-16 Viper Demo Team, the USAF Heritage Flight, and the Army’s Black Daggers parachute team. Civilians include Bill Leff in his T-6, Jerry Conley’s Vampire jet, the Warrior Flight Team of L-39s, the original Bell “Batcopter”, Dan Buchanan, Bill Stein, Gene Soucy and a few more local performers. The Flashfire Dodge Jet Truck will be making some noise too!

Here’s a look at a group of performers at the NAS Oceana Air Show between 1998 and 2006, most of these aircraft are retired now (as are their crews/pilots) although Dan Buchanan flying his hang glider is one of this year’s stars again!  These are from past shows, and don’t expect them to appear at this year’s 2017 air show!

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