MCAS Miramar Air Show 2022 featuring the Blue Angels

Due to COVID, it had been three long years since the last MCAS Miramar Air Show.

One of the neat things about an air show is watching the planes fly in.

Judging by the huge crowds in attendance, the community was eager to see this air show again. As always, admission was free to the public.

Preferred seating was available to purchase.

The theme of this year’s air show was “Marines: Fight, Evolve, Win.” It was designed to showcase the “technical innovations the service is undertaking to remain the 21st century’s force in readiness.” This was brought vividly to life by the Marine Air-Ground Task Force” (MAGTF) simulated air and ground assault — complete with large, fiery explosions! MAGTF demonstrates its capability of “generating, deploying and employing ready forces and formations for crisis response, forward presence, major combat operations and campaigns in support of fleet operations and the joint force.” It consisted of a ground combat element (1st MARDIV), air combat element (3rd MAW — the Marine Corps’ largest air combat element, deployable on short notice), logistics combat element support (1st MLG), I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) Information Group (I MIG — providing communications, intelligence and supporting arms liason) and Marine Expeditionary Units (11th MEU, 13th MEU and 15th MEU — a forward deployed, flexible, sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations, to include enabling the introduction of follow-on forces and designated special operations).

“The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the teamwork and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps through flight demonstrations and community outreach while inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country.”

“Fat Albert”

These words had even greater meaning for me when I ended my weekend by going to see “Top Gun: Maverick.” I had already seen this movie several months ago, when it was first released but, watching the movie again, after spending two full days at the MCAS Miramar Air Show, provided me with a much better understanding of why the pilots fly precision maneuvers so very close to each other — at times from opposing directions, and at extremely high speeds. These are maneuvers that they must know to successfully execute dangerous missions, as portrayed in the movie.

To see the movie this time, I wanted an even more immersive experience than just seeing it in a regular movie theater. For that, I saw it in IMAX in the Fleet Science Center’s giant Dome Theater, in San Diego’s Balboa Park. While there is not a bad seat in this giant dome, my favorite section of the dome’s stadium seating is way up high, ideally in the middle of the back row. Watching the pilots prepare for their ultimate mission, and then experiencing this harrowing mission as they flew it, enables the audience to get a sense of what it is like to be in the cockpit. Being in the IMAX dome amplified the experience.

A new IMAX film about the Blue Angels is in production.

The Blue Angels now fly the F/A-18 Super Hornet – a larger, more powerful, longer-range version of the F/A-18 that the Blue Angels flew previously, and capable of flying at nearly two times the speed of sound.

Captain Brian Kesselring, USN — Commanding Officer and Flight Leader of the Blue Angels — has been flying in the Navy for 22 years. This is his third and final year flying with the Blue Angels. He is looking forward to continuing his service on aircraft carriers with the Fleet.

In addition to the Blue Angels and the MAGTF, the air show also thrilled audiences with the U.S. Army Golden Knights and U.S. Navy Leap Frogs parachute teams…

… aerobatic performances by Vicky Benzing, Mike Goulian, Jon Melby and Rob Holland…

… Kent Pietsch — who put his plane down on a moving truck bed…

… Red Bull performers…

… the “Hot Streak II Jet Truck…

… and much more, including numerous military and civilian static displays.

The U.S. Air Force, also participating in the air show, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

What was your favorite part of the 2022 MCAS Miramar Air Show?

To explore a wide variety of content dating back to 2002, with the most photos and the latest text, visit “AutoMatters & More” at https://automatters.net. Search by title or topic in the Search Bar in the middle of the Home Page, or click on the blue ‘years’ boxes and browse.

Copyright © 2022 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #761r4

Jan Wagner


  1. David Sperry on September 29, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    That sounds very plausible. I’ll skip the research. Thanks.

  2. Michael Fishman on September 29, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    Awesome photos Jan!!!

    • Jan Wagner on September 30, 2022 at 8:42 am

      Thank you, Michael.
      I got carried away and spent two full days and nights editing those MCAS Miramar Air Show photos, and a few more photos that I decided not to include with what I published (100 was more than enough!).
      Yesterday I went to the Anaheim Convention Center to cover the return of the OC (Orange County — your former stomping grounds) Auto Show — the first of the Southern California major-ish auto shows of the new car season. Then, because I was only two blocks away from my usual Disneyland Resort parking lot (the Toy Story lot), I moved my car over there from the Anaheim Convention Center and spent from 8:00 p.m. to closing time at Disneyland — after securing the necessary Park reservation online in the late afternoon.
      In the four hours available to me, I rode on the Mark Twain riverboat through the “Rivers of America.” went to Galaxy’s Edge (STAR WARS Land) and rode on the “Rise of the Resistance” and “Millennium Falcon: Smugglers’ Run” rides, and, finally, enjoyed the Halloween overlay on the Haunted Mansion ride. Oh, and for good measure, after Park Closing I went into the old-time Disneyland cartoon theater on Main Street USA and watched — possibly for my first time, “Steamboat Willy” (supposedly the very first Walt Disney cartoon featuring a rather politically incorrect Mickey Mouse). Then I drove home and fell asleep. I guess that I’ll renew my annual pass to the SoCal Disney Parks again — today.

  3. David Sperry on September 29, 2022 at 9:12 am

    Jan, wonderful photos for what must be the ultimate air show. I’ve only been to one air show and that was in England back in the 1970’s. It focused on vintage aircraft up to WW2.

    I’d say the Blue Angles themselves are the most exciting part. To this day I can’t believe how they can fly in such precise formation, and in opposite directions. At those speeds, how do you correct for the slightest imperfection?

    I’m surprised the US Air Force is only 75 years old. Other Air Forces of the world date back to WW1. I’ll do some Google research.

    • Jan Wagner on September 29, 2022 at 5:56 pm

      Recently I read somewhere that what is now the U.S. Air Force used to be part of the army — some sort of army air corps. That was then transitioned into being its own branch of the military.

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