VIRGINIA BEACH — A virtual air show featuring live performances by U.S. Navy and Air Force aircraft will be broadcast across social media on Saturday from Naval Air Station Oceana.
The once cancelled 2020 Oceana Airshow will now take place from the coastal airbase without guests in attendance. Base organizers elected to fly with the new virtual format to provide local residents with a show “in a safe environment”.
This will be the only air show hosted by a U.S. naval base this season due to Covid concerns.
“Moving the air show to a live-streamed event allows us to keep everyone healthy,” NAS Oceana commander Capt. John W. Hewitt said on Wednesday. “Showcasing what the Navy and Marine Corps team is capable of doing when we deploy around the world to defend America’s interests.”
The four-hour air show will begin at 12 p.m. EDT, and last four hours. The live performances will be shown via social media, including on YouTube, from Live Airshow TV.
The Navy’s F/A-18F Super Hornet, affectionately known as a Rhino, will perform a nearly 18-minute flight on Saturday. The Rhino Demonstration Team is excited to perform over their home base.
“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,” Rhino Demo Team member LT. Matt “Syndrome” Lindeman said.
Oceana will be the Rhino’s first air show performance of the season due to Covid concerns. The pilots and maintainers have continued to practice each week to maintain their readiness.
“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,” LT. Linderman added.
The Air Force F-22A Raptor and A-10C Thunderbolt II demonstration teams are also scheduled to perform. A Marine Corps. MV-22 Osprey is also poised to fly, performing vertical take-offs and hovering techniques over the air field.
Aerobatic pilots Michael Goulian, aboard his Extra 330SC, and Scott Francis, in the MXS aircraft, will provide a dizzying array of maneuvers.
Oceana base officials caution local residents from parking near the base to catch the event in person.
“The best way to view the air show is on your phone, tablet or computer,” Capt. 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.”
(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)