Saturday – March 12, 2016
El Centro Air Show
Naval Air Facility
El Centro, California
As the winter home of the Blue Angels, the Navy Air Facility El Centro annual air show is the first show of their season, every year. Drawing a crowd of approximately 35,000, it is the largest single-day event in the Imperial Valley.
Naval Air Facility El Centro Air Show
Saturday, March 12, 2016
General Admission and Parking are Free
Gates Open at 9 a.m. and Flying Begins at 10:50 a.m.
- 10:50 am: Leap Frogs Launch
- 10:55 am: CO Opening Comments
- 11 am: Air Show Start National Anthem/Leap Frogs Flag Jump
- 11:10 am: HellCat/BearCat Blue Angel Tribute
- 11:30 am: Red Eagles Formation Team: Yak-52
- 11:50 am: Vicky Benzing: Extra 300
- 12:05 pm: CAF SoCAL: P51/Zero Dogfight
- 12:25 pm: Metal Mulisha
- 12:50 pm: Spencer Suderman – Pitts S2B
- 1:10 pm: John Collver – SNJ
- 1:25 pm: Planes of Fame- F-86/Mig-15 Dogfight
- 1:45 pm: U.S. Navy Leap Frogs
- 2:00 pm: Metal Mulisha
- 2:30 pm: U. S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team: Fat Albert
- 3:00 pm: U. S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team: The Blue Angels
We were only interested in seeing the Blue Angels perform. We opted not to park within the Naval Facility and instead parked next to a farm field on Ross Road. Our location was located about one-half mile west of Forrester Road and about one mile south of Evan Hewes Highway, near the entrance to the Naval Air Facility. This proved to be an opportune location. We avoided the traffic congestion on Evan Hewes Highway waiting to park at the Naval Air Facility and we had an excellent view of the Blue Angels as they performed their thrilling aerial show.
Naval Air Facility El Centro
The facility was commissioned on May 1, 1946, as a Naval Air Station. For the first 35 years, the mission of NAF El Centro was devoted to aeronautical escape system testing, evaluation, and design. In November 1947, the Parachute Experimental Division from Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey moved to El Centro. In 1951, the Joint Parachute Facility was established and consisted of the Naval Parachute Unit and the U.S. Air Force's 6511th Test Group (Parachute). The Air Force remained part of El Centro’s test organization for the next 27 years.
The facility has two operating runways. The 9,503-foot east/west runway handles 96 percent of the traffic. It is equipped with a Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System (FLOLS) at each approach end as well as lighted carrier flight deck landing areas at both ends so pilots can simulate carrier landings.
Apart from "touch and go" landings and take-offs, aircrews use the many ranges at NAF El Centro to develop their skills. A remote-controlled target area allows naval aviators and naval flight officers to practice ordnance delivery. The desert range is used for air-to-ground bombing, rocket firing, strafing, dummy drops and mobile land target training. The target complex uses the Weapons Impact Scoring System that microwaves target images to a range master control building for immediate verification of weapons delivery accuracy.
The addition of the Display and Debriefing Subsystem, known as DDS, expanded the role of NAF El Centro to include air combat training by utilizing remote television, acoustical and laser scoring systems. The DDS is linked with the Tactical Air Crew Training System (TACTS) to provide a computerized record of the tactics employed by individual aircrews to employ and to evaluate the effectiveness of each maneuver.
Tomorrow another adventure begins.