Jet team schedules are not the only exciting news for fans to come out of the annual ICAS convention this week. Representatives from the US Navy and the US Air Force both gave presentations outlining their services plans for supporting airshows in 2016, and there is some very good news for fans eager to see more military involvement. Here are the important details from the Navy; we’ll cover the USAF in detail tomorrow.
F-18 Tactical Demonstrations
Both F/A-18C Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet tactical demonstration teams will be participating in 46 (up from 20 in 2015) airshows in 2016. As in years past, the East Coast team will come from VFA-106 at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The West Coast team will be from VFA-122 at NAS Lemoore in California. The TACDEMO teams are intending to perform only at airshows where the Blue Angels are not performing, in an effort to maximize the visibility of the Navy recruiting efforts. That said, we fully expect the VFA-106 teams to perform alongside the Blue Angels at their home show at Oceana, as they have for years. No word is given on when the TACDEMO schedules can be expected.
Not to be forgotten is the previously announced news that the Tailhook Legacy Flights, which pair Navy warbirds with current fighters, will be returning in 2016.
The US Navy Leap Frogs parachute team is also authorized to perform at up to 27 shows this year, although it is unclear if their many High School and sporting event appearances will count against that total. There is no word yet on when their schedule can be expected.
The other major news in the presentation is that restrictions on Navy static displays are being lifted in 2016. Previously they had been severely limited due to the sequestration budget cuts. Only 10 civilian shows were approved for statics in 2015. Happily, static displays will be unrestricted starting with this season!
These are all very exciting developments, and certainly indicate that military participation can be expected to rise in the near future. Let’s hope the good news continues!
Stay tuned for more developments and the performance schedules as we get them.