About 200,000 aviation enthusiasts are expected to turn out this weekend for the 31st annual Point Mugu Air Show--an aerial extravaganza promising glimpses of some of the best in military and civilian acrobatic flying.
The show will feature both the Navy's famed Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team and the Canadian Air Force's Snowbird Acrobatic Team, in addition to several civilian acrobatic acts.
"It's very rare to have two flight demonstration teams perform at the same show, so this should be a real treat for the spectators," said Cmdr. Bill Kirkpatrick, air show director. "The show offers people a chance to see some of the best aviators now flying."
For the public, the air show runs all day Saturday and Sunday, but an abbreviated practice show will be staged Friday afternoon for special education students, children's groups, federal and local public safety employees and their families.
The weekend shows also will demonstrate the parachuting prowess of the Navy's Leap Frog Parachute Demonstration Team and firefighting capabilities of the Channel Islands Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Group.
As Seabees from the Port Hueneme Naval Construction Battalion Center pounded aluminum bleachers into place Wednesday in front of Point Mugu's 11,000-foot-long runway, Navy officials across the base were polishing hangars, washing displays and windows and readying the sprawling facility for the show.
"It's a pretty big job," said Seabee Michael White, 29. "There's a lot still to go, but we'll have it ready in time."
For World War II flying buffs, both aerial and static displays of fighter aircraft from that period will be offered. For Cold War baby boomers, the show will feature Russian-made Yak-50s and MIG-17 fighters.
Acrobatic enthusiasts will enjoy the aerial maneuvers of several biplane acts, in addition to performances by selected Navy and Air Force squadrons flying F-14 Tomcats, F/A-18 Hornets and F-16 Falcons.
A special race pitting the Shockwave--a jet-powered Peterbilt truck capable of attaining speeds in excess of 300 m.p.h.--against two different kinds of acrobatic aircraft is slated to make a crowd-pleasing return to the show, according to Alan Alpers, a base spokesman.
"That truck is really amazing," Alpers said. "At first, people don't seem to believe what they're seeing."
Weather forecasters predict the show will be bathed in cloudless sunshine, after early morning low clouds burn off. Meteorologist James McCutcheon of WeatherData Inc. said the clouds should disappear by 10:30 or 11 a.m., leaving sunny skies and temperatures reaching the mid- to upper 70s.
While Alpers said the show is designed with entertainment in mind, it also has a serious side.
"This is an opportunity for the military to show the taxpayers what they have bought with their tax dollars," Alpers said. "It allows us to highlight the individual missions and capabilities of each aircraft.
"It's also a heck of a lot of fun too."
The gates to the 31st annual Point Mugu Air Show will open at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with flight demonstrations starting at 9:30 a.m. Formal welcoming ceremonies are slated for noon. The Canadian Snowbirds take to the air at 12:10 p.m., and the U. S. Navy's Blue Angels will fly at 3:15 p.m.
General admission is free. Bleacher seats at $5 are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Advanced box seats are available for $15 before the show and $20 at the gate. For box seat information, call 989-8349 or 989-8548. Tickets for a twilight spaghetti dinner and brief after-dark flight demonstration are $10. For dinner reservations and information, call 989-7628. For general information, call 989-8786.