Marines are used to pulling off the impossible and making it look easy, but as the sun set day two of the Miramar Air Show, you could tell that even the toughest Leathernecks could really use a break. Many were on duty before dawn to prepare for the busy day ahead.
Car loads of people started at the Marine Corps Air Station Saturday morning. Crowds began to swell by late afternoon. Marines had their hands full with traffic tie-ups and overflowing parking lots.
Spectators sent to park their vehicles in reserve lots took it all in stride as they trekked across a golf course to get to the show.
“It’s a plane that takes off like a helicopter,” a pilot explained to a woman shaking her head as she got her first up close look at the new Marine Corps MV-22 “Osprey” on display. The controversial aircraft that changes from tilt-rotor to fixed wing operation in mid-air is set to replace the 1960s era CH-46E “Phrog” transport helicopters. Ospreys also have a starring role in the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) demonstration that gives crowds a taste of what happens during major Marine Corps missions.
The Herculean Air Force C-5 “Galaxy” proved size definitely matters when it comes to commanding attention. “I can’t believe this,” said a teenaged girl as she walked through the cavernous cargo hold. “I feel like I’m in the mall this is so cool.”
Fans squeezed into the grandstands and camped out on the tarmac to cheer for the Navy Blue Angels and Canadian Snow Birds as jet pilots pulled off ear-splitting, jaw-dropping stunts.
The orange glow of dusk and cooler temperatures set the stage for the twilight show. Spectators plugged their ears as they kept their eyes glued to an AV-8B Harrier Jet hovered and “sashayed” above the runway. Minutes later, the Army Golden Knights lit up the sky with pyrotechnics they parachuted onto the flight line.