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Blue Angels, Air Force to Headline MCAS Beaufort Airshow

Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team pilot Major Paul “Loco” Lopez will perform this weekend over MCAS Beaufort, S.C. This is Loco’s second season with the team. (Charles Atkeison)

BEAUFORT, S.C. — Top military and civilian aircraft, including the Navy’s Blue Angels, will thunder over Marine Corps. Air Station Beaufort this weekend during the base’s popular Open House and Airshow.

Fightertown U.S.A. East will host an incredible military line-up as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, and the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II, perform during a five hour window on April 27 and 28. Top civilian aerobatic pilots are scheduled to the skies each day including Jim Tobul, Julie Clark, Gary Ward, and Rob Holland.

The Beaufort Air Show will provide a rare treat as they allow guests an up close static view, and the chance to witness a rare flight demonstration of the Marines F-35B Lightning II aircraft. The United States military’s latest defense support fighter carries unique features such a rear stealth mode and can hover prior to landing on land or an aircraft carrier.

Beaufort is the home to day-to-day training of new F-35 pilots and ground maintainers. The base’s VMFAT 501 continues to add to the growing number of qualified Navy and Marine pilots.

The Blue Angels six blue and gold F/A-18 Hornets command a crowd-favorite performance as the airshow headliner. Their nearly 42-minute flight demonstration each will see the four-jet diamond team perform several slow passes defying maneuvers. The high performance low passes by the two solo jets will come screaming across the runway’s center point at speeds of nearly 400 m.p.h. once the diamond had cleared.

The Air Force’s popular F-22 Raptor will demonstrate high thrust maneuvers and tight turns each day. Pilot Major Paul “Loco” Lopez will perform a nearly 15-minute flight demonstration before joining up with a P-51 Mustang for the Heritage Flight.

“The Heritage Flight is a living memorial pairing up a modern fighter with a World War II or Korean-era airplane flying in formation,” Maj. Lopez said to this aerospace journalist. “Paired with great narration and great music, it captures that feeling of how import the Air Force legacy is in the military.”

Six World War II-era aircraft of the GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team’s Navy SNJ-2 planes will give visitors the same thrills and gasps as the military jets. Their silver single prop aircraft will simulate actual aerial combat maneuvers used during the second World War.

The GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team will demonstrate World War II aircraft maneuvers aboard their Navy SNJ-2 aircraft over MCAS Beaufort. (Charles Atkeison)

Popular civilian aerobatic aircraft also highlighted the Beaufort airshow. Tobul and his F-4U Corsair, nicknamed “The Korean War Hero”, will perform. Pilot Scott Yoak’s P-51D Mustang Quicksilver is a shining example of another warbird of the Korean War turned aerobatic.

Air show admission and parking are free to the public. Gates open at 9 a.m. and the opening ceremony is set for 11:30 a.m.