Saturday, March 5, 2016

Air shows and events in the Washington DC region (2016)

If you're an aviation enthusiast or just like to see a good air show, there are plenty taking place in the Washington D.C. region. In this area the shows typically start in May and run through October. From vintage to military, many of these shows will highlight and showcase a variety of aircraft.

Manassas Airport Regional Business Alliance (MARBA)

The annual air show in Manassas takes place on Sat., May 7 at the Manassas Regional Airport from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event is free to the public, but donations are taken at the gate. Every year the air show proceeds benefit charities, this year's nonprofit beneficiaries are The Freedom Museum, The Virginia Airborne Search & Rescue Squad and the Civil Air Patrol, Prince William/Manassas composite Squadron. 

There are usually security checkpoints when you enter the airfield. Food vendors will be onsite if you want to have lunch at the show. For more information you can visit the official website for any updates or additional details on show participants. Rain date is May 8.  

Photo taken at 2012 air show

Flying Circus Air Show

For as long as I've lived in Virginia, the Flying Circus Air Show has been said to delight audiences with its performances from May through October. This year's opening day is on Sat. May 1 and shows will run until Oct. 30, 2016.  Visitors to the show can see vintage aircraft, parachute jumpers and "barnstorming".  The weekly shows are fun for all ages and you can check the Flying Circus calendar for any other special events happening this season (there is a hot air balloon festival every August, which is a 2-day event - this year's takes place on Aug. 20-21). The Flying Circus is located in Bealeton, Va.

Leesburg Air Show

Now in its 8th year, the Leesburg Air Show takes place at the Leesburg Executive Airport. The show typically features various demonstrations, skydivers, exhibitions, acrobatics, aviation displays and much more. Last year included a car show. This year's show is on Sat., Sept. 24. Gates will open at 11 a.m. and the main show starts at 1 p.m. 

The event is free to the public, donations are welcomed. The show's promoters encourage visitors to the show to bring chairs and blankets to the show. The performers for the 2016 show have not been listed yet, but check the website for last year's highlights (Edit: June 20, 2016: It looks like this URL will automatically update to show 2016 highlights when it's ready).

Culpeper Air Fest

The annual Culpeper Air Fest is scheduled for Oct. 8, 2016. Taking place in Brandy Station, Va. at the Culpeper Regional Airport. The day's fun includes several events such as air acrobatics, aircraft displays, airplane rides, wing-walking, games for the kids and much more. The gates open at 9 a.m. and buses start running to take people to and from the airport at this time. You can learn more about this year's lineup of performances on the airshow's website

Image credit: Used with permission per the Culpeper media web page

Virginia Air Show and Air Show Week

This one takes place at the Front Royal-Warren County Airport, about 90 minutes west of Washington D.C. This show offers events in the days leading up to the show (these I've not attended, but have attended the air show itself). In the past, performances included military aircraft, hot air balloons, a gyrocopter, barnstorming, air acrobatics, antique autos and more. As of April 19, 2016, the 2016 information is not posted just yet. Check the website for updated information. I'll try to circle back and post the updates if and when it becomes available. In years past this air show has taken place in September.

Dulles Day Plane Pull

Every year the Dulles Day Plane Pull takes place in September. This Special Olympics  fundraiser features teams of 25 people pulling a 164,000+ pound Airbus 12 at the fastest rate. There is also live music, a car show, aircraft display and other family fun. This year's event is scheduled to take place on Sat., Sept. 17, 2016. For more information, check the official website 

Andrews Air Show


It's back! But it's not running in 2016. Considered to be one of the major events in the D.C. area, shows were suspended in 2013 and 2014 due to government budget issues. Last year, in September, there was a show - I believe one typically runs every other year. According to what seems to be the official word, the Andrews Air Show is next scheduled to take place in 2017 and will coincide with the 70th Air Force Birthday.

Want to take a day or overnight trip? I just discovered there is an air show down in Lynchburg, Virginia. This one also features the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

It's a bit early now for some of these shows, but it's never too soon to plan since they are big events in the area. If I come across any new shows added or ones I missed, I'll update this post. 

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