The Huntington Beach Airshow returned to Southern California for its 6th annual aircraft performance put on by elite pilots and aerobatic aircrafts.
HUNTINGTON BEACH — The 6th annual three-day Pacific Airshow returned to Huntington Beach for the weekend of Sept. 30- Oct. 3 and was heard across Southern California. Millions of visitors gathered high and low from rooftops to the shoreline to watch 48 spectacularly choreographed aerobatic aircraft performances over the Huntington Beach Pier. An aerobatic flight is an intentional maneuver involving an abrupt change in the aircraft’s attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration, not necessary for a routine flight.
The performances were set to the tune of honking car alarms as U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine, and Navy aircraft and civilian pilots showcased their impressive stunts and precision parachute drops and showed the crowds the skills of our armed forces. The event went from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day except for Sept. 30, when the event kicked off with the Ocean Cup, a high-octane boat race around Catalina Island at 7:30 a.m. The event continued through the entire weekend ending on Oct. 3 with live music on the beach, VIP meet and greets, and social parties.
All aircrafts imaginable participated in the show, including helicopters, an experimental flying car, vintage planes, Air Force jets, and even the FedEx 757 Flypass made an appearance.
The nation’s military parachutists and pilots took off and landed at the Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos. Civilian pilots take off from the Lyon Air Museum. Oct. 1 events were live-streamed on Hulu and immediately following the event. There is also an on-demand replay that is available.
Aircrafts performed stunts such as tail dragging, rolls, and loops, and even flew straight up, turned their engines off, and spiraled around before turning their engines back on and taking off.
A showstopping finale showcased the world-famous Air Force Thunderbirds, a team of six pilots who were also celebrating the military branch’s 75th anniversary. The six elite pilots showed the crowds the capabilities of the F-16 fighter jet as they executed an impressive choreography of flying on top of each other, through each other, and alongside each other. Thunderbird planes Nos. 1 through 4 flew in a diamond formation. U.S. Air Force Capt. Daniel Katz was the No. 6 pilot, who performed one of two solo acts along with the No. 5 pilot.
Suzanne Masses has lived in Huntington Beach since 1970 and attended the airshow and an event held by Huntington Beach local and community enthusiast Lisa Marie Moreo, who coordinates airshow viewings from a suite at the Waterfront Hilton Hotel each year.
“The coolest part of this show was the Thunderbirds,” said Massas. “They flew right over the Hilton over our heads. You could feel their speed inside your chest, and it was hysterical listening to the car alarms go off together each time they flew by.”
Huntington Beach City officials predicted about three million people were in attendance over the event’s three-day festivities. The airshow was free to the public, though ticketed options are available for pier seats, beach seating, or cabana seating. In addition, miles of vessels lined the Huntington Beach coast to watch the show from the water.
The first Pacific Airshow was initially called the Breitling Huntington Beach Airshow, then later, The Great Pacific Airshow took place in 2016, attracting hundreds of thousands to Huntington Beach for a display of aviation skill and military might soaring over the beach in Southern California. It is the only airshow with two editions, Huntington Beach and the Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia.
For more information about the Pacific Airshow, visit https://www.pacificairshow.com/.