Saturday November 16th 2019
Once I decided to spend the winter in Las Vegas, one of the things I was looking forward to was the Aviation Nation air show at Nellis Air Force Base. I went to the last one in November of 2017. Today was the first day of this years show.
I actually set an alarm to get up early enough to have a good breakfast before heading out. I left the RV Park at 8:30am to head north twelve miles to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Police, Airmen and hired security direct the parking at the speedway followed by security screening before riding a bus about five miles back to the flight line on the base. There was a delay getting through security and onto the bus, but I arrived just as the American flag arrived via parachute to the singing of the National Anthem. I wandered through the static displays and watched the continuous action in the air over the flight line.
This show has better and more elaborate demonstrations than regional shows around the country. Nellis is the home base of the Air Force Thunderbird F16 demonstration squadron as well as other Air Force units. They have many different aircraft to use as part of the demonstration. Naval and Marine units in the region also get in on the show.
The home base of the Thunderbird squadron also works against the smooth flow of the show. A Thunderbird show always has a big ground show element, but at Nellis it is even longer. It’s a celebration with families present for the team. More people get introduced and they use part of the time to swear in a new set of airmen to the Air Force. It is great that they do that, but it really slows the pace of the show down. It isn’t possible to see what’s going on in front of the Thunderbird jets, so you need to find other things to see and do for close to forty five minutes. I used the time to work my way back toward the bus loading area. I loaded onto a bus about midway through the flying part of the Thunderbird demonstration and made it back to my car before the mass exodus at the end of the show.
I took more than three hundred pictures. Here are some of the better ones.