Miramar Aerobatic Show Expects to Draw 1 Million


A record crowd of more than 1 million people is expected to visit Miramar Naval Air Station’s annual air show this weekend, officials said.

Spectators will see the Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatic flight team, Naval SEAL parachute demonstrations, an Iraqi Scud missile, a Patriot missile battery and more than 100 civilian and military aircraft.

“In anticipation of the larger attendance this year, the aerobatic portion will be a little longer,” said Chief Petty Officer Bobbie Carleton, a Miramar spokeswoman who called the two-day event “San Diego’s biggest traditional picnic.”


More people are expected this year because of a “much more heightened awareness of the military” because of the Persian Gulf War, Carleton said.

According to Carleton, crowds have numbered about 750,000 for the past five years. The profits of the event, which has been held since 1953, go toward the Navy Morale Welfare and Recreation Fund, Carleton said. The fund pays for fitness and exercise facilities as well as child-care for Miramar employees.

Admission is free, and profits come from corporate sponsorships and food sales, Carleton said. The goal this year is $1 million.

The Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatic flight squad will fly FA-18 Hornet fighters similar to the warplanes used in Operation Desert Storm and will demonstrate air-combat tactics. They will also perform tight air maneuvers and close-formation flying.

Other planes scheduled to be in that aerobatic portion of the show include the Navy’s F-14 Tomcat fighter, which will demonstrate some in-flight maneuvers, and a Marine Corps AV-8 Harrier jump-set that can take off and land vertically.

The air station will be open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Flying demonstrations are scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. both days.

Spectators can enter the base from gates on Miramar Way and Miramar Road off Interstate 15. A shuttle will take people from parking lots to the viewing area. Those with box seat or bleacher tickets can park in a special lot at the Kearny Villa Road entrance. Those tickets, which cost $12 and $6 respectively, are available through Ticketmaster or can be bought at the base.

Although food and beverages, including alcohol, are allowed, glass containers and barbecue grills are prohibited. Beach chairs, blankets and cameras are permitted.

The biggest concern in putting on the show each year is parking and traffic, Carleton said. “On the one hand, we’re concerned about putting on a big show, and, on the other hand, we want to be a good neighbor,” she explained.

Many spectators wrongly assume that the 24,000-acre base does not have adequate parking and will park in residential areas 2 miles away, Carleton said. “There’s no need for anyone to park creatively. The air station has adequate parking for everyone,” she added.

Traffic is expected to be heavy on Interstates 15 and 805, said Phil Konstantin, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

No parking is allowed on the shoulder of I-15 or I-805, Konstantin said. In the past, people traditionally have tried to park along the freeway to watch the flight demonstrations, he said. “If you plan to fake a breakdown, you’ll be towed away immediately.”

Kearny Villa Road, near the base, will be closed today, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. between Harris Plant Road and Miramar Way because planes will fly directly overhead, Carleton said.