Naval Air Station Oceana air show is happening after all — virtually

By KATHERINE HAFNER | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: August 27, 2020

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(Tribune News Service) — The annual air show at Naval Air Station Oceana will go on after all, but without the typical crowds on base.

Instead, spectators this year are invited to watch the planes online — and only online. Navy officials are asking fans not to congregate on nearby roads in an effort to view the live shows. Performances are choreographed specifically for live broadcast cameras, they said.

“We can’t wait to welcome everyone back to NAS Oceana when it is safe to do so,” commanding officer Capt. John Hewitt said in a statement. “But you can help us speed up that process by watching from the comfort of your home.”

The Navy announced in July it was canceling the popular event, which draws a quarter-million visitors each year, to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In a news release Thursday, officials said “the decision to broadcast the air show, instead of inviting the public on the base to view, allows Hampton Roads residents to see naval aviation up close in a safe environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The base will broadcast the show Saturday, Sept. 19 from noon to 4 p.m. on Facebook and YouTube, according to the release.

The show will have an “In It Together” theme, officials said, paying tribute to frontline workers during the pandemic.

Live performances will include the Air Force’s F-22 and A-10 Thunderbolt tactical demonstration teams, as well as the Oceana-based “Rhino” Demonstration Team that flies the F/A-18F Super Hornets.

The broadcast will also show pre-recorded videos including a tour of the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base, an overview of the naval aviation history and “an up-close look” at the Navy’s unmanned autonomous helicopter, the MQ-8B Fire Scout.

It will be narrated live by commentators from the company LiveAirShowTV.

Navy officials emphasized that drones are not permitted within five miles of the base.

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