AirFest 2018 at MacDill AFB

Airfest 2018 Returns to MacDill Air Force Base

The Tampa Bay Air Fest is back at MacDill Air Force Base and is set to kick off this weekend. I had the privilege of getting a preview. This year’s free event is Saturday and Sunday from 8 AM to 5 PM. Officials expect over 100,000 aviation aficionados and curiosity seekers. So, if you go, pack some patience. The only entrance available to civilians is the Dale Mabry gate, which typically starts stacking up around 6 AM even though the gates do not open until 8:00 AM. If you want to sit in air-conditioned comfort while someone else does the driving, HART is providing a special route from Britton Plaza to the fest, with buses leaving every 15 minutes. If you choose this option, you should probably also arrived early as parking spaces will fill up.

 Armaments are set off to demonstrate the fire power of an A10 C Thunderbolt

Armaments are set off to demonstrate the fire power of an A10 C Thunderbolt

On Sunday, May 13, from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Surf’s Edge Club there is an Air Fest Mother’s Day brunch ($20.95 per person). Everyone is welcome, and no reservations are required.

 And I thought my drone was cool. This beauty comes to Tampa from Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, NV

And I thought my drone was cool. This beauty comes to Tampa from Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, NV

 Visitors get full access to military aircraft like this C-17 Cargo Plane cockpit

Visitors get full access to military aircraft like this C-17 Cargo Plane cockpit

 This is the belly of the beast C-17 cargo plane

This is the belly of the beast C-17 cargo plane

Prepare for the heat. It gets hot out on the flight line and there is little cover. This year however they are providing for more food trucks and drink stations. Take a hat, some water, and some sunscreen.  As you might imagine no drones, weapons, glass, or umbrellas allowed.  

 Rob Holland buzzes the ground with his MXS RH carbon fibre stunt plane. That is precision flying!

Rob Holland buzzes the ground with his MXS RH carbon fibre stunt plane. That is precision flying!

 The Blue Angels are the darlings of the airshow with good reason. Their precision flying is amazing! Those are F-18 fighter jets within feet of each other!

The Blue Angels are the darlings of the airshow with good reason. Their precision flying is amazing! Those are F-18 fighter jets within feet of each other!

 Navy Lt. Andre Webb, pilot number 7, announces for the Blue Angels

Navy Lt. Andre Webb, pilot number 7, announces for the Blue Angels

 Young and old alike can see what it is like to handle a military grade weapon

Young and old alike can see what it is like to handle a military grade weapon

If you have not experienced the might and muscle and machinery of the United States Military up close, this is a must see. Headlining this year’s show is the US Navy Blue Angel’s fly their FA-18s and are joined this year by F-22 and A-10 demo teams. For a complete list of the aerial and static (on the ground) demonstrations, go here

 This armored personnel carrier is what carries our troops in to battles. Visitors can sit in at and  get the sense of what it is like.

This armored personnel carrier is what carries our troops in to battles. Visitors can sit in at and  get the sense of what it is like.

 The Geico Skytypers use computer programs to write complex messenges in the sky.  They ain't your grandma's cropduster...

The Geico Skytypers use computer programs to write complex messenges in the sky.  They ain't your grandma's cropduster...

 Yes, that's an A- 10 Thunderbolt II inverted

Yes, that's an A- 10 Thunderbolt II inverted

 This F-22 Raptor gets put through it's paces as it thunders through the skies over Tampa 

This F-22 Raptor gets put through it's paces as it thunders through the skies over Tampa 

 KC-135 Stratotanker cockpit

KC-135 Stratotanker cockpit

 Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules

Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules

 You can't bring coolers, but be sure to bring your camera

You can't bring coolers, but be sure to bring your camera