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2009 Air Shows

2009 NAS Oceana , Virginia Beach

Location: NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Admission: Free
Parking: Free
Value: Excellent
The Oceana NAS air show 2009, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, looked promising, but like most air shows this year we have attended, the weather was again, the spoiling factor! Historically, Oceana NAS is a very large air show with an excellent reputation and in 2009, would be our first visit.
This year’s main attractions included: The Blue Angels, The Snowbirds, F-15E Strike Eagle, the The Red Devils, the elite British Army Parachute Team, who are similar to the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights, Air-to-air in flight refueling demo, Fleet flyby, and the list just goes on!
On Friday, Oct. 9 th - Media day, the skies were heavily overcast and drizzling all day, with no action in the air whatsoever due to the low ceiling only the Shockwave Jet Truck did a few trial runs and Rich Gibson's pyro were set off.
On Saturday, it was heavily over cast with brisk winds, which made the already cold air feel even worse. I’d come prepared though, with a winter jacket, hat and gloves, as these were required! The only good thing about Saturday, during the actual time of the air show, it did not rain. But, due to the low ceiling of the dark clouds, many of the scheduled performances were cancelled. However, the organizers tried to put some aircraft into the air such as the T-6G with Bill Leff in the cockpit, the P-51D Mustang with Dale “Snort” Snodgrass, Otto the Helicopter, F4U Corsair, F-15E Strike Eagle, F/A-18 Hornet, F/A-18F Super Hornet, and The Blue Angels performed with a low level variations of their normal routines. Performances with other multiple aircraft were all cancelled with exception of the Blue Angels. The pyro was set off with a wall of fire which warmed up the crowds for a couple of seconds. All of their performances were much appreciated by the crowds, approximately 25,000 who braved the bone chilling temperatures.
On Sunday, the weather had its day. It was heavily over cast again, but with even brisker winds, and as a bonus it was drizzling on and off, mostly on, unfortunately. Again the organizers tried to put performers into the air, for the braver and dedicated fans who arrived despite the foul weather. Our staff had enough of the bone chilling wet weather, and after seeing Bill Leff’s T-6G perform, and the weather’s forecast, we decided to leave the show.

There were plenty of vendors hawking air show paraphernalia. As for food vendors, they were expensive and the food to our group, was awful, worse than at most air shows. Sanitation facilities were plenty and well dispersed.

The layout of the show was excellent, and if someone was willing to pay for upgraded seats, or stands, it provided very good to excellent viewing of the flight line activities. The performances also included a race between the T-6G and a jet powered truck; the truck won. While there were some static aircraft on display, there were fewer than expected.
For most performances a lens with a 200-400mm range worked well. Even with such limited performances it was possible to take a few interesting images.
Over all the show was rated 7.0 out of 10, mainly due to the weather which prevented the majority of the performances. We’re hoping for next year, the weather will be much better!
Warbirds that were airborne:
  • F/A-18 Legacy Hornet Demo Team
  • F-15E Strike Eagle Demo Team
  • F/A-18F Super Hornet
  • E-2C Hawkeye
  • P-51D Mustang
  • T-6G
  • F4U Corsair
  • C-130 Hercules Fat Albert
  • F/A-18 Hornets of The Blue Angels
Rating: 7 out of 10
Review and photography by Laszlo Nyary
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