Smaller crowds marked the 2003 Miramar airshow, but the show itself was niether smaller nor drew less appreciation from those who were there.  The usual top-notch performances were turned in to the delight of those in attendance over the three-day show, which included an extra nighttime performance on Saturday.  The event theme honored the 100th Anniversary of Flight: Kittyhawk to Miramar.

            The featured performers included the Blue Angels, Patty Wagstaff with her Extra 300S, John Collver in his AT-6 Texan, Sean Tucker, Bill Reesman’s Mig-17F, and the Red Baron Stearman Squadron.  The USMC AV-8B Harrier demonstration roared in front of the crowd, and the ever-popular Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) simulated capturing a small airfield, displaying just about every type of aircraft and ground equipment currently in use.  The B-1B Lancer put on an impressive aerial display, and was joined on Saturday only by a B-2 Spirit.

            On the ground, vintage military and civilian aircraft were on display in scores, as well as current models of military jets, trainers and helicopters.  An F-5 Aggressor from the Top Gun School in Fallon, Nevada was display in simulated Soviet markings.  Privately-owned Hawker Hunter and L-39 Albatross jets from the era just past and in immaculate condition, were parked on the lines.

            An F-4F Phantom was also displayed as “the world’s largest distributor of Mig parts”.  While no longer in active service, some Phantoms remain in flying condition at Tucson, AZ.  Still being used, although the future does not look good, were the Air Force Cessna A-37 and Navy S-3 Viking.  Both face a phasing out of service over the next few years.

            Drawing a lot of attention was the first appearance of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as well as a Predator drone.  The JSF was likely a non-flying mock up, but it did present an opportunity to see what one will look like when they enter service.  The Predator has been in the news for its role in battlefield survelance.

            The Miramar Airshow has something for everyone, and continues to be one of the most popular airshows in the world.  The Marines have continued the fine tradition of the show, and the base also features the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.  The museum provided many aircraft for display during the show.

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