Thunderbirds set for Mugu

first_imgPOINT MUGU – Excitement is building for the Point Mugu Air Show next weekend at Naval Base Ventura County, with demonstrations scheduled by the Air Force Thunderbirds and the new F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. The two-day show is free, but because of heightened security at the base since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, visitors will be subject to searches and are prohibited from bringing certain items on the base. Point Mugu officials say it’s hard to predict how many people will attend because it depends partly on the weather. But the show has drawn more than 100,000 visitors in past years, and this year includes some special attractions, include the Thunderbirds jet acrobatics team with a couple of new female pilots. “It’s going to be the first public flight demonstration for the F-22 Raptor at this Navy base and the third in the United States,” said Vance Vasquez, a base spokesman. “I think the public is really going to be excited to see it. I know I am.” The Point Mugu Space Fair started in 1963 and the name was changed in 1974 to the Point Mugu Air Show. In the past, the event featured air-to-air and ground-to-air rocket launches and bomb-dropping demonstrations. The event has run into some trouble over the past decade, with cancellations four times in the past nine years, sometimes for want of a headlining jet aerobatics team like the Thunderbirds or the Navy’s Blue Angels. In 2002, the show was canceled after the first day, when a QF-4 Phantom jet crashed, killing both crew members, and in 2003 the show was axed for lack of a headlining act and partly because of the war in Iraq. Ventura County sailors have been scrambling to get ready since they learned late last year that the Air Force Thunderbirds with their F-16 Fighting Falcons would be available this spring. Teri Reid, a base spokeswoman, said the show is an important public relations event for Naval Base Ventura County, giving visitors an exciting glimpse of what goes on there and a chance to meet the military personnel. “This is a chance for the general public to come in and see what we do and talk to the sailors about the defense of our country,” Reid said. Because of security concerns, visitors should bring as little as possible with them and should expect screening, officials said. All vehicles and all visitors entering the base are subject to search. Alcohol is prohibited along with illegal drugs, weapons and explosives. Prohibited items include backpacks, coolers, pets, glass bottles, skateboards, roller skates, scooters and bicycles. eric.leach@dailynews.com (805) 583-7602 If you go The Point Mugu Air Show is held at the ocean in Ventura County near the southern end of Las Posas Road, which can be reached from the Ventura (101) Freeway. Naval Air Station Gates 3 and 2 will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 31, and Sunday, April 1, with flight demonstrations starting at 10 a.m. For more information call (805) 989-8786 or go to www.nbvc.navy.mil. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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