Crowds might be grounded, but Oceana air show this weekend isn’t

Virginia News

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Oceana Air Show kicks off Saturday, but will have a much different feel. That’s because COVID has forced the organizers to “ground” the crowd.

“I don’t see it as a disappointment,” said Captain John Hewitt, commanding officer of NAS Oceana. “I see it as an opportunity.”

In July, the air show was canceled. Just months later it’s back on, but this time virtually.

“This is a light that is going to bring a lot of joy to a lot of people especially considering these challenging times,” Hewitt added.

So without the people, the show will go on. There will be cameras on the ground and inside see the planes. All of it livestreamed.

“Think of the virtual air show as an NFL pregame show,” Hewitt said.

The four-hour program will include live interviews and segments about the aircraft and those flying them.

“We wish we could open our gates and have the broarder public come on the base,” Commander Dan Catlin of VFA-106.

Catlin has flown in his share of air shows. He says he became a pilot because he went with his dad to an air show when he was 9 years old.

“When I heard the sound of the jet coming across show center and I got a chance to see the pilot step on down the ladder I told my dad ‘That’s what I’m going to do one day,’” Catlin.

This year’s theme is “In it Together.”

“We think we are going to reach al lot greater audience then we normally would with our air show are expecting north of a million people,” Hewitt said.

“What you are going to see is dynamic flying, a lot of maneuvering, a lot of air planes being pressed and being flown hard,” Catlin added.

The show can be seen on Facebook or YouTube from noon to 4 p.m.

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