7 Best Parts of the Miramar Air Show in San Diego

Military Demonstrations, Stunt Pilots, and Family Fun Found at the Miramar Air Show

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” -Henry Ford

miramar air show
One of the best annual events in San Diego is the Miramar Air Show. It is one of the most exciting and fun events in San Diego, especially if you are able to get VIP access into one of the corporate tents. The air show is at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar (formerly Navel Air Station (NAS) Miramar, and Navel Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS) Miramar). Designated as “Fightertown USA” in the movie Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise, it is a world-renowned venue. Check out our highlight reel from this year’s show:

The Air Show is a demonstration of American military technology, strength and might, and a fun event for the whole family. It is especially interesting for me since I worked on the F-15, F/A-18 and the AV-8B when I worked at McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing) in the early 1980s. Even with these aircraft still in military service, they have continued to evolve over the last few decades with updated avionics (i.e., fly by wire electronics), stealth features, and increases in engine performance resulting in faster speeds and quieter flying.

We were able to attend the event last year as the guests of a corporate sponsor that had a VIP tent. This year, we also attended as VIPs through my relationship with EvoNexus, a startup technology incubator and accelerator here in town.

Our top seven parts of this experience are as follows:

(1) VIP Treatment

We were able to take the VIP experience to a whole new level this year since the CEO of EvoNexus, Rory Moore, is a world-class stunt pilot, and one of the EvoNexus board members, Walter Davis, is a retired Vice Admiral in the U.S. Navy. The VIP experience included luxury buses to and from the event, a police escort, entrance to the event through the main building, complementary food and drinks, a shaded and cooled VIP tent, and front row seating. It was really awesome!

Even if you don’t go VIP, this is still one of the best events of the year in San Diego. Just plan to wear lots of sunscreen or bring some form of shade like an umbrella, because you will be there all day.

miramar air show

(2) Blue Angels

This was the second time that we were fortunate enough to see the Blue Angels this year. We saw them on July 4th at the National Cherry Festival in Amanda’s hometown of Traverse City, MI. (Read about our time in TC here!) This time it was a bit more special since we were able to meet one of fighter pilots in the Blue Angels squadron, and get his signature on a model airplane for our son. Very special.

The Blue Angels are now flying F/A-18 fighter jets, one of the airplanes that I helped to design and build, albeit my part was pretty small.

(3) Walking around the Tarmac

We were able to walk around the venue and see some very cool cargo airplanes, vintage fighter planes, tanks, ATVs, gunnery and communication equipment, and helicopters. It is amazing to see the capabilities and all the technology that goes into this equipment.

miramar air show

(4) Stunt pilot Sean D. Tucker, “Oracle Challenger”

Sean D. Tucker is a personal friend of EvoNexus CEO Rory Moore. In fact, Sean and Rory have known each other for a couple of decades and used to fly together. Sean started as a crop duster, and is now one of the greatest stunt pilots in the world. Some of the avionic feats that he demonstrated at the show defy logic and are death-defying stunts. It is really something to see!

(5) AV-8B Harrier Demo

The Harrier is a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. In other words it doesn’t need a runway to takeoff or land. It can takeoff and land like a helicopter, and fly like an airplane. It is still in service today, and is used by the Marine Corps in specific tactical combat situations.

miramar air show

(6) Golden Knights Parachute Team and the US Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Team

This part of the show was a simulation of using helicopters to drop-off troops in a tight and narrow combat zone, and be able to get our troops in, out, and safe with bomb and fighter capability support. It is hard to describe, but awesome to see!

(7) The San Diego Weather

Although it was a long day, we had really sunny and nice conditions like we do almost all the time here in San Diego. As long as you prepare for being outside for several hours, you will have a blast at this show.

miramar air show

Have you been to the Miramar Air Show? What is your favorite part of the day? We’d love to know!

Patrick Henry
Written by

Patrick Henry, CEO of QuestFusion, former CEO of Entropic Communications, entrepreneur, executive, father, and freelance blogger living the luxury and active lifestyle in San Diego.

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