California Capital Airshow


The B-29 Superfort taking off from Mather Airfield.

After I first watched Top Gun, I wanted to be a pilot. I was maybe 11 or 12 when I first saw it, and after seeing the movie, all I drew was the F-14 and aircraft carriers. I didn’t feel cool enough to take Maverick, Goose or Iceman’s callsigns, so I took Hollywood, though later in life I’d pick Iceman (different reason, and F1 related)

On Saturday I went to my first airshow. It was an attempt to see the Blue Angels perform aerial feats in person, but alas they were grounded due to flight surgeon finding one of the pilots unfit for flight.

Still, we were treated to quite a bit of aerial performances but the best part for me was the Pacific War era planes flying around and parading these historic planes to represent those that came home from the war and those that didn’t.

They rolled out a lot of vintage WWII planes  – a pair of P-40s and P-51s, an F4U Corsair, an SBD Dauntless dive bomber, a P-38, a Navy B-25 Mitchell and a B-29 bomber. They also had a Zero fighter and a Val dive bomber, representing the planes of the Japanese imperial air force, the primary foes of the USAF and Navy during the Pacific war – all airplanes that I have only read about and seen in photos, and visualized in my imagination.

An F/A-18 Hornet from the Canadian Air Force and an F-16 Fighting Falcon also performed some high speed passes, wowing the crowds with their speed and agility.

The Golden Knights of the US Army also performed high altitude jumps, and a few other corporate-sponsored flights were made with highly skilled pilots performing high G dives, rolls and twists.

It was quite an experience for someone who dreamed of being a pilot once, and World War II naval and aviation history buff! With Fleet Week 2016 coming up this weekend, am looking forward to seeing more of these historic planes and ships in San Francisco!

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