Every other year, MCAS Cherry Point opens its gates to visitors and locals for the air show. Families pile into cars and trek to the tarmac to watch aerial stunts and wander through displays learning about the air station, the military and aviation history. This year’s event is scheduled for May 16-18.
MCAS Cherry Point’s air show is the largest air show in the Carolinas and one of the largest military air shows in the Southeast. Friday’s show features nighttime performances, while Saturday and Sunday offers many daytime performances. Gates open for the Friday night show at 5pm with flying from 5:45-10pm. On Saturday and Sunday, gates open at 8am with flying from 10:30am-4:30pm.
The theme for this year’s show is “Inspiration to Innovation,” submitted by Chris Kling of Vanceboro. Kling’s theme was selected from 237 entrants in the biennial theme contest. Because he submitted the winning theme, Kling gets to ride with one of the performing aircraft.
This year’s air show keeps the tradition of top-notch air performers. Featured in the air entertainment includes the Black Diamond Jet Team, the Smoke-n-Thunder JetCar, Aeroshell, Bill Leff and his restored T-6 Texan, Dan Buchanan with his glider, OTTO the helicopter, New Bern resident Hubie Tolson, a B-25 Panchito, Chris Avery and the CAF Corsair, the MiG-17F, Mike Wiskus and Lucas Oil Airshows, the Black Daggers parachute demonstration team and many others. Other highlights include a Marine Air-Ground Task Force demonstration, the Smoke-n-Thunder jet car, a host of civilian and military aerobatic demonstrations, a fun zone for the kids, plus historic and modern static aircraft displays on the flight line.
The night show includes a variety of night-oriented aerial pyrotechnic displays, afterburner flybys, the roaring afterburner display of the Smoke-n-Thunder jet car, the Black Dagger skydivers, a wall of fire ordnance demonstration and a large fireworks display set to patriotic music.
The show is providing a series of buses to take guests from the parking area to the tarmac. Don’t forget to bring a lawn chair or blanket, hearing protection, sunscreen and a visor or cap for spending a day in the sun. For those interested in premium seating, several options are available on the air show’s website and include bleacher, box and chalet seating. It’s also important to be mindful of the fact that guests are entering a government facility and are subject to searches at any time.
For the most up to date information on the air show, visit the show’s website, cherrypointairshow.com.