If you are passionate about aircraft or are just looking for some spectacular event to attend with the whole family air shows are what you need. The USA is home to a great number of fantastic air shows, events and festivals not to be missed. Such events offer the chance to marvel at the breathtaking stunts performed by professional pilots and see their amazing planes. The country’s numerous air shows and festivals that include the EAA AirVenture are considered the best and the biggest aviation events on the globe, showcasing the top aircraft of the past and modern eras. Here are the best air shows in the USA worth visiting for a once in a lifetime experience.
Florida International Air Show (Punta Gorda, Florida)
Ranked one of the "10 Best Air Shows Around the World" by USAToday.com, the Florida International Air Show has been organized for over 30 years in a row now. This popular aviation show is a great event to visit with the whole family. Here you can see exciting air displays as well as great many military and civilian aircraft performing incredible stunts. In addition, the show features numerous aircraft-related displays and a special play area for kids.
Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo (Lakeland, Florida)
This is one of the oldest air events in the country which is also ranked one of the best air shows in the world. It demonstrates various air displays and aviation exhibitions. Each spring Florida’s Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo impresses its guests with exciting air displays performed by military stunt teams and skilled solo pilots. If you love planes make sure you visit the event to see interesting exhibits including the latest aircraft currently available for sale.
MacDill Air Fest (Tampa, Central West Florida)
This spectacular two-day show draws over 750,000 “air” and aircraft lovers who come to see jaw dropping air stunts and more. MacDill Air Fest is among of the best and largest air festivals in the USA. The event is hosted by various civilian and military aerobatics demonstration teams that celebrate the heritage of the military service.
Lauderdale Air Show (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
Held right over the ocean on Fort Lauderdale Beach this is a show not to be missed. This patriotic waterfront show that lasts over four hours demonstrates some of the country’s premier military and civilian acts. Make sure you see the event from the aerial 50 yard line for the best view of the show.
May Day Fly-In & Air Show (Valdez, Alaska)
early to mid May
The May Day Fly-In & Air Show is the main aviation event of the year that draws crowds of pilots, vendors and, of course, tourists. Among the most popular activities of the show are the pilot competitions, the Poker Run, flour bombing as well as breathtaking high flying aerobatics. Plus, guests can see the Unusual Attitudes’ daring stunt shows, an U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter simulated rescue and a spectacular performance of skydivers.
Andrews Air Force Base Joint Services Air Show (Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland)
Featuring the Blue Angels, the Golden Knights, and an array of other exciting aerial and ground attractions, the Andrews Air Show is a grandiose show that should be visited at least once in your lifetime. It is held not far from Washington DC and impresses everyone with its special military displays that even showcases “war birds” four decades old along with a range of civilian performers.
Great Tennessee Air Show (Smyrna, Tennessee)
This show is included in the list of the "Top 10 Best Air Shows in the World" compiled by USA Today. Visit Tennessee Air Show to see the renowned U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform their air stunts as well as other exciting aerobatic acts. Show guests will be able to view military and civilian aircraft on display, plus there is a Kid Zone for the youngest visitors.
Vectren Dayton Air Show (Dayton, Ohio)
The state of Ohio is considered “The Birthplace of Aviation,” as it is home to the Wright brothers who were born in Dayton. Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first to create an airplane that actually flew. The Vectren Dayton Air Show has been organized since 1974 and it was started with the goal of celebrating the state’s legacy as an aviation center. Each year the show delights the aviation enthusiasts with contemporary aerobatic champions, military jet flyers, and more.
Geneseo Air Show (Geneseo, New York)
Often referred to as “the Greatest Show on Turf”, the Geneseo Air Show has been organized since 1994. The exciting event offers 2 days of incredible air show along with the opportunity to see historic planes up close. There are flying demonstrations of vintage aircraft that fought during World War II as well as the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum devoted to the aircraft of the World War II and Korean War.
Pensacola Beach Air Show (Pensacola, Florida)
The highlight of the show is the performance of the Blue Angels, the Navy’s most renowned flight demonstration squadron. Each July Pensacola Beach is crowded with thousands of tourists who arrive to gaze at the world-famous Blue Angels performing their aerial maneuvers in the blue summer skies. Or consider visiting Pensacola Beach from March to November as it is the time when The Blue Angels practice on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.
EAA AirVenture (Oshkosh, Wisconsin)
late July - early August
At the end of July through early August Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh draws thousands of visitors who come to watch the biggest and most important aviation event on the globe. No other aviation event features over 10,000 planes that include military and general aviation planes of every size, as well as a number of antique and aerobatics planes on display. During the even over 500 forums, workshops and seminars are organized. Guests of the show can see the planes close-up and watch aerobatic flying exhibitions performed by an international crew of professional aerobatics pilots.
Chicago Air & Water Show (Chicago waterfront, Illinois)
The Chicago Air & Water Show welcomes its guests to enjoy its unforgettable aviation show featuring U.S. military's high-speed, precision jet teams, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, along with a great number of other military aircraft and hardware. The two-day show is the largest in the country and is sure worth visiting.
Cleveland National Air Show (Cleveland, Ohio)
Another great aviation event to visit with the whole family is the Cleveland National Air Show. It is well known for its remarkable flying exhibits that include the U.S Navy Blue Angles displays, airborne aerobatics, helicopter demonstrations, parachuting, wing walking, and more. In addition, there are ground displays of more than 50 planes, educational demonstrations and a range of fun activities, such as bungee jumping and rock wall climbing.
Oceana Air Show (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
For more than 50 years the Oceana Air Show has been a real mecca for thousands of aircraft and aviation enthusiasts from around the world. The popular event offers flight demonstrations, spectacular parachute shows, pyrotechnics and much more. The highlights of the event include the aerial stunts performed by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and Canadian Snowbirds, plus vintage and present day aircraft displays and demonstrations. The show offers a wide range of activities for kids, including sumo wrestling, face painting, playing in bounce houses, and climbing rock walls.
Reno Air Races (Reno, Nevada)
What distinguishes this air event among other aviation festivals and shows is the unique airplane races. In addition to the displays of airplane acrobatics the event features the races in which six classes of aircraft compete in 3- to 8-mile race courses in the sky.
Miramar Air Show (San Diego, California)
This is definitely the largest military show in the country, with the Blue Angels performing, static displays and biplane aerobatics featuring A-10 Thunderbolts, F15 Eagles, F16 Fighting Falcons, and F22 Raptor fighter jets. In addition, history lovers will be thrilled to watch the displays of vintage planes, including the F4 Phantom , P51 Mustang, the A1 Skyraider, and TBM Avenger.