2018 Event Review

Los Angeles County Air Show, March 24-25, 2018

Location: General William J. Fox Airfield, Lancaster, CA
Admission: Adult $20, Youth & Military $15, 6 and under FREE
Parking: $10
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 8.5
 
Luke Days airshow 2018

 

The fifth annual Los Angeles County Air Show took place on March 24-25, 2018 at General William J. Fox Airfield in Lancaster, California. This year was very special because it commemorated the 75th Anniversary of Lockheed Skunks Works which is based out of the Mojave desert area. Headlining the show was the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team and many other interesting aircraft.

Gates opened at 9:00 am both days and attendees were able to visit the many unusual static aircraft that were offered which aren't seen anywhere else in the world today. There were also various STEM tents from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman that people of all ages could enjoy. The weather both days was very cold and breezy but fortunately did not have any effect on the flying activities.

The flying portion of the show began at 11:30 am with the singing of the national anthem and flag jumps by the Patriot Parachute Team. After the opening ceremonies, multiple aerobatic pilots took to the skies to perform. Highlighting them was Bill Stein in his Edge 540, Kent Pietsch in his Jelly Belly Interstate Cadet, Chuck Coleman in his Extra 300, Anthony Oshinuga in his Pitts S-1 biplane, and Jim Pietz in his F33C Bonanza. Another major aerobatic act was the Red Bull Air Force which consisted of Kirby Chambliss flying his Extra 540, Aaron Fitzgerald in his BO-105 helicopter, and the "Swoopers" jump team.

The show featured a stellar amount of classic jet aircraft ranging from the final days of WWII to the Korean War era. The jets featured were the F-86 Sabre and MiG-15 Fagot of Planes of Fame performing a dogfight simulation, the T-33 Shooting Star "Ace Maker II" piloted by Gregory "Wired" Colyer, and a rare DeHavilland Vampire British jet fighter piloted by Jeff Conley.

As usual, many warbirds were featured at this event. The warbird portion of the show offered plenty of photo passes from the aircraft and lots of pyro. The aircraft flying included the P-51 Mustang, F8F Bearcat, Supermarine Spitfire, and B-17 Flying Fortress "Sentimental Journey" of the Commemorative Air Force, the F4U Corsair and B-25 Mitchell of Planes of Fame, and the newly restored P-38 Lightning from the Collings Foundation.

Representing the U.S. Marine Corps in the show was the MV-22 Osprey. The MV-22 is a tilt-rotor aircraft that can perform both the capabilities of an aircraft and helicopter. In the demonstration, the crew showcased the many capabilities of the MV-22 including flat passes and hovering maneuvers.

Perhaps the rarest part of the show was flybys from 2 different versions of the Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane on Saturday. The first aircraft to fly was a U-2S known as the "Dragon Lady" which flew out of Beale AFB. The second was a NASA ER-2 High Altitude Research Aircraft. This was a major part of the Skunk Works 75th anniversary celebration because the U-2 is a major accomplishment from the Lockheed corporation.

Concluding the air show was the United States Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team based out of Langley AFB, Virginia. The F-22, piloted by Maj Paul "Loco" Lopez, took to the skies of Lancaster for the very first time ever and showcased the many advanced characteristics of the fifth-generation fighter including tight turns, tail slides, and high speed passes. After the solo demonstration, Maj. Lopez joined formation with a P-38 Lightning piloted by Mr. Steve Hinton for the Heritage Flight. This was a rare opportunity for the public to watch a formation of U.S. Air Force fighters of past and present. After the Heritage Flight, the P-38 flew a solo aerobatic routine to commemorate 75 years of Lockheed Skunk Works. On Saturday, after the flying was over, Maj. Lopez walked over to the center of the airshow to swear in new Air Force recruits with a very special Wall of Fire.

After flying activities concluded, spectators were able to continue visiting the different static displays and tents before gates closed at 5:00 pm. Special thanks to the organizers, volunteers, sponsors, performers, and spectators for making the 2018 Los Angeles County Air Show a success!

Participants:

Performers:

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team & Heritage Flight with P-38 Lightning

U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey Demo

U-2S Dragon Lady Flyby - Saturday Only

NASA ER-2 Flyby - Saturday Only

Gregory "Wired" Colyer - T-33 Shooting Star "Ace Maker II"

Jeff Conley - DeHavilland DH.100 Vampire

Planes of Fame F-86 Sabre and MiG-15 Dogfight

WWII Warbird Parade - P-51 Mustang, P-38 Lightning, F4U Corsair, F8F Bearcat, Spitfire, B-17 Flying Fortress, and B-25 Mitchell

Red Bull Air Force: Kirby Chambliss - Extra 540, Aaron Fitzgerald - BO-105 Helicopter, and Swoopers Jump Team

Bill Stein - Edge 540

Chuck Coleman - Edge 300

Anthony Oshinuga - Pitts S-1

Kent Pietsch - Jelly Belly Interstate Cadet

Jim Pietz - F33C Bonanza

Patriot Parachute Team

Static Displays

F-35A Lightning II - 001, Edwards AFB, CA

F-16C Fighting Falcon - Edwards AFB, CA

F-15B Eagle - NASA

F/A-18A Hornet - NASA

Scaled Composites Proteus

Scaled Composites ARES

Lockheed Vega


Report and photography by Geoffrey Arnwine for The Aviation Magazine

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Images of Luke Days 2018
 
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