VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana will broadcast its annual air show, Sept. 19 from noon to 4 p.m., featuring performances by a variety of military aircraft including the Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor.
The decision to broadcast the air show, instead of inviting the public on the base to view, allows Hampton Roads residents to see naval aviation up close in a safe environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s in-person air show was canceled on July 13 to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The event has been held nearly every year since 1962 and typically attracts more than 250,000 spectators, making physical distancing impractical.
“NAS Oceana is very fortunate to call the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake our home, and we take pride in doing our part to keep the public safe. As members of these great communities, we know that people look forward to attending our very popular air show,” said Capt. John W. Hewitt, Commanding Officer of NAS Oceana. “Moving the air show to a live-streamed event allows us to keep everyone healthy, while still showcasing what the Navy and Marine Corps team is capable of doing when we deploy around the world to defend America’s interests.”
This year’s air show theme is “In It Together,” which pays tribute to frontline workers who are keeping everyone safe during the pandemic.
The air show schedule is still under development, but will be highlighted by a live performance of the NAS Oceana-based “Rhino” Demonstration Team that flies the F/A-18F Super Hornet with aircrew who are assigned to VFA-106.
The demonstration team performs at air shows around the country and consists of pilots, weapon systems officers and maintenance crews. The NAS Oceana Air Show homecoming is always one of the performances the team looks forward to the most.
“We’re honored that even in a COVID environment, we are able to safely perform and showcase the incredible dedication by the men and women who maintain and operate aircraft from NAS Oceana every day,” said Lt. Matt Lindeman, Rhino Demo Team. “The demo profile is designed to highlight the mobility, versatility and power of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, and enhance U.S. Navy recruiting in the area of Naval Aviation.”
The broadcast will include live performances by the Air Force’s F-22 and A-10 Thunderbolt tactical demonstration teams. The F-22 is the Air Force’s stealth fifth generation fighter jet and the A-10 provides close air support for troops on the ground.
The broadcast will also show pre-recorded video features that include a tour of the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base, an overview of the history of Naval Aviation, and an up-close look at the Navy’s unmanned autonomous helicopter, the MQ-8B Fire Scout.
The air show will be narrated live from NAS Oceana by commentators from LiveAirShowTV, a company that uses state-of-the-art sports cameras, graphics and audio operated by experienced sports production personnel.
The four-hour show can be viewed online at https://www.facebook.com/events/1849904701816801/ and https://tinyurl.com/NAS-OceanaAirShow2020-YouTube3. Updates to the show’s schedule will be posted on NAS Oceana’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/navalairstationoceana.
Hewitt reminds the public that unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones, are not permitted at NAS Oceana. The unauthorized use of drones can threaten the safety of aircraft, military personnel and nearby civilians. Flying a drone within five miles of NAS Oceana – including the oceanfront resort area – is also prohibited unless the operator has complied with all Federal Aviation Administration regulations and contacts NAS Oceana’s Air Traffic Control office before beginning any flights.
It is also a violation of federal law to use a drone to photograph or record video of military bases. Drone operators should use the B4UFLY mobile app and visit https://faadronezone.faa.gov/ to ensure they are complying with all state and federal regulations. Hewitt also encouraged air show fans to not to congregate on nearby roads in an effort to view the live performances, which are choreographed specifically for the live broadcast cameras.
“The best way to view the air show is on your phone, tablet or computer,” Hewitt said. “We need to make sure emergency services personnel can get wherever they may need to go and that nobody is spreading the virus outside of our gates trying to get a better view of the show. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back to NAS Oceana when it is safe to do so, but you can help us speed up that process by watching from the comfort of your home.”