Teams from Navy, Army are among attractions
- By ALLISON GATLIN Valley Press Staff Writer
LANCASTER — Demonstrations of the Navy’s newest fighter, an Army parachute team, an aerobatic pilot fresh off of the Top Gun sequel and World War II pilot training — all these attractions have been added to the bill for the Los Angeles County Air Show “Aerospace Valley USA” arriving next month.
The air show, on March 21 and 22 at Gen. William J. Fox Field in Lancaster, will also feature as the headlining act the Navy’s precision flight team, the Blue Angels.
“This year’s goal is to knock the socks off the aviation enthusiast, and that’s not an easy task here in Aerospace Valley,” Los Angeles County Air Show Board President Mike VanKirk said. “For those of us who live here, we’re blessed to see some of the world’s top aircraft fly on a regular basis, but I’m thrilled to say the 2020 show is shaping up to be one of the most exciting air shows in the country.”
In addition to the Blue Angels, the Navy’s F-35C demonstration team from Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, will showcase the service’s latest fighter. The F-35C is the Navy variant of the joint strike fighter, which also has versions for the Air Force and Marine Corps, as well as several international partners.
This is the first year the Navy has fielded a F-35C team for air shows.
Another first for this year’s show is an appearance by the Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team, made up of demonstration and competition parachutists drawn from all parts of the U.S. Army.
Aerobatic pilot Chuck Coleman returns to the Los Angeles County Air Show this year. The local pilot has performed throughout the country and has been involved most recently in making the upcoming “Top Gun” sequel.
Coleman served as the aerobatic flight instructor for the “Tom Cruise School of Flying” in his Extra 300L airplane and performed in more than 140 flights with the actors.
These performers are in addition to the previously announced Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” warbirds, Alabama Boys, Rob Harrison The Tumbling Bear and Vicky Benzing flying her Stearman biplane.
On the ground, a new display will tell the story of War Eagle Field, the World War II flying school for Royal Air Force pilots in Lancaster. The display, a joint effort with the Antelope Valley Rural Museum, will detail the Polaris Flight Academy and its cadre of British and Canadian fliers.
The popular Heroes and Legends history panels will feature discussions on subjects as varied as the U-2 spy plane, women in aviation and War Eagle Field.
The interactive STEM Expo continues to expand, offering hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering and math.
“For the first time in the Air Show’s history, we’re offering public premium seating, so folks will be able to get a fence line view, seating and other amenities,” VanKirk said. “It’s not just the ‘In the Sky’ show, but our ‘On the Ground’ static displays, Heroes and Legends History panel, interactive STEM, and great food that make a perfect recipe for an amazing event. Our robust line-up including the 2020 is an exciting year for all aerospace enthusiasts.”