Not to leave out the Air Force entirely, the appearance of the famous B-17 Flying Fortress and B-25 Mitchell, both which played parts helping out the US Navy, along with a rare PV-2 Harpoon and all silver HU-16 Albatross. Moving into the Korean War era with the arrival of four T-28 Trojan trainers in a formation pass along with T-34 Mentors, the Leap Frogs returned to the skies once again for their main jump. Once they reached the group, the aircraft began to appear once again, starting with the first Jet of the day, a T-33 Shooting Star. A FJ-4 Fury and a T-2 Buckeye rounded out the start of fighter jets for the US Military, and soon the distant roar of the first modern military aircraft was heard as a dogfighting F-5 Tiger and F/A-18 Hornet screamed past bringing us in the arrival of the modern age. Two Harriers from MCAS Yuma screamed in followed by what appeared to be out of nowhere collection of Marine helicopters showcasing old and new with the original AH-1W Cobra and AH-1Z Venom along with the UH-1 Huey and the new UH-1Y Venom. Next up was a wonderful treat not often seen outside of the Marine Air Ground Task Force demonstration that is performed at the MCAS Miramar Airshows, a mid-air refueling demonstration with a C-130 Hercules and two CH-53 Super Stallions. At this point my camera was trying desperately to keep up with the amount of photos I was taking. Thankfully, with the one to two minute pause between the passes, the camera had a second to take a breath before being plunged into another round of photo taking.
The pace, up to this point, had been pretty quick, but now this would slow down as a few demonstrations were coming in. First up was an uncommon sight along the West Coast in recent years as two MV-22 Ospreys appeared in ‘hover mode’ with one transitioning into fast forward flight and the other coming to a slow stop over the water to perform a hover demonstration. It was at this point that all the media along the shoreline knew we had picked the best spot as the ‘show center’ location for the demos was catered to the special guests that were on board the Aircraft Carrier USS John C. Stennis. This meant that the normal general public would barely be able to see the demonstration taking place, while we had almost a front row seat for it. The Osprey’s demo was pretty quick, but enough to showcase the hovering capabilities of these amazing aircraft, and after it departed another vertical flying aircraft screamed in for the second time, but for a demo this time around. The two AV-8B Harriers appeared once again, doing pretty much the same thing as the Ospreys where one screamed past in flight mode and the other slowed to a stop to hover over the San Diego harbor. The water whipped around from the downward exhaust of the Harrier, and after performing a side to side and spin hover demo, it too transitioned into flight mode and departed. Returning back to the Parade of Flight, the two MV-22 Ospreys returned for a quick flyby, and the distant roar of helicopters began to echo throughout the area. Four little dots suddenly turned into eight as a gaggle mix of old and new Cobras and Hueys proudly roared past in an incredible four and four formation.
Following directly behind the impressive gaggle of Hueys and Cobras were rather plain C-12 and UC-35 Naval aircraft, which you almost had to feel sorry for them being placed in the middle of otherwise rather jaw dropping formations of military helicopter might. After their departure, it became time for one of the passes I was most looking forward to, and it was hard to even photograph the C-12 and UC-35 aircraft as the large dots started to multiply in the distance. Rounding the corner by the Aircraft Carrier came what seemed like out of a blockbuster military movie as eight giant CH-53E Super Stallions from MCAS Miramar nearly shook the ground from their incredible sound. Trying to remain focused on taking shots of this incredible sight and not just drool in amazement was a difficult thing to do. I nearly missed the two C-130 Hercules aircraft that flew over about the same time high into the air because of the sheer might of the Super Stallions in that big of numbers. Not really getting much time to admire the Stallions as they went off into the distance, two more C-130 Hercules appeared in formation to continue this now rapid pace of the flybys. The Parade of Flight was about half over now, and already the impressive amount of aircraft through history that had flown over this harbor was mind-boggling. Following the two Hercules, and not to be outdone by the Super Stallions, eight CH-46E Sea Knights also from MCAS Miramar roared into view in two different four ship formations. As the CH-46s passed in front of us, one of the trailing Sea Knights broke off from the group and spun around heading the opposite direction. But there wasn’t really any time to see what was going on as it was time to return to the jets.
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