The Pacific Airshow at Huntington Beach, California, may have been canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but it’s back this year — and as the event organizer says, it will be “better than ever.”
Here’s why: For only the second time in U.S. history, the three North American jet teams — the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds — will perform together at one airshow. The Thunderbirds had been scheduled to appear in another airshow that was canceled, so they were added to the lineup this week.
“To say it’s an honor to have the Thunderbirds join us again would be an understatement,” Kevin Elliott, event director, said. “The lineup of the 2021 Pacific Airshow will become a thing of legend, with kids growing up to say, ‘I remember when all three North American Jet Teams flew together in Huntington Beach.’”
An Airshow Lover’s Dream
The Pacific Airshow will take place at Huntington Beach on Friday, October 1; Saturday, October 2; and Sunday, October 3. The aerial dynamics will take place all three days from about 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Thunderbirds, flying Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons, will debut their new routine which features “formations that tell a story of patriotism, American ingenuity, teamwork, and inspiration,” the airshow explains. Part of the routine also includes a new maneuver called the “Rapid Recovery.”
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year. Aviation fans can look for the squadron to debut their new F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerobatic team is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Fans can expect to see the nine-jet squadron fly formations with only 4 feet between jets’ wingtips.
The U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey Demo Team will also make a rare appearance, flying the Boeing-built twin-tilt rotor aircraft. What’s noteworthy is that the aircraft combines the agility of a helicopter with the high-speed performance of a turboprop aircraft.
Finally, no airshow is complete without precision parachute teams. As you might expect, The Golden Knights, the U.S. Army’s aerial parachute demonstration team, and The Leap Frogs, the U.S. Navy’s parachute team, will both also perform.
While the airshow is free, tickets for special seating on the sand or on the pier start at $25. You can learn more about ticket information here.
Wait, There’s More
The airshow’s events actually start on the water, with the “Ocean Cup” boat race. Participants will leave the Sunset Aquatic Marina in Huntington Harbor at 7:30 a.m., race to Catalina Island, and then return to the harbor. After that, the boats will be displayed on Main Street on Saturday and Sunday.
Then, the “Afterburner Music Festival” will take place Friday and Saturday night after the airshow.
The headliners on Friday night will be vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Sammy Hagar and his band Sammy Hagar & The Circle. The band’s members include Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, guitarist Vic Johnson, and Jason Bonham, drummer and son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
“I’m a beach guy, and it just doesn’t get any better than playing music on the beach,” Sammy Hagar said. “Afterburner Music Festival is going to be one hell of a show — following the Blue Angels’ performance at Pacific Airshow will be epic. And to play ‘Dreams’ as a tribute to Van Halen during Blue Angels’ 75th anniversary year will be surreal.”
The headliner for Saturday’s show is award-winning country music artist Sam Hunt. He will be accompanied by performances from X Ambassadors, and the Grammy award-nominated Cassadee Pope — the first female winner of The Voice.
Know Before You Go
The Pacific Airshow is an open-air outdoor event on the beach. Proof of vaccination will not be required, and while face masks will not be required, they are recommended. The State of California strongly recommends that guests be fully vaccinated or obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending an outdoor event.
You can learn more about COVID-19 guidelines at the Pacific Airshow here. You can learn more about the current California Department of Public Health guidelines here.
Be sure to also check out our California coverage and our festivals and special events coverage.