2018 Event Review

Beale Air & Space Expo - April 28, 2018

Location: Beale Air Force Base, Marysville, CA
Admission: FREE
Parking: FREE on-site
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 8.5
Luke Days airshow 2018


For the first time since 2011, Beale Air Force Base hosted an Open House and Air Show on April 28, 2018. The show featured a variety of different aircraft including the F-22 Raptor Demo Team which flew twice, the Patriots Jet Team, and the U-2 Dragon Lady and T-38 Talon based out of Beale. In addition to the aerial activities, there were also a bunch of static displays for the crowd to visit including the rare NASA Super Guppy aircraft.

Gates opened at 9:00 am to the public and flying officially started at 11:00 am with the singing of the National Anthem. The Wings of Blue Parachute Team jumped during the anthem with each member casting out a flag of each military branch along with the American Flag. The team would later return to the skies to perform their own solo demonstration consisting of many different parachute formations and maneuvers. A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter served as their jump aircraft for the entire show.

To turn up the noise early in the day, the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team took to the skies for their first performance of the day. The team, based out of Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, performed one of it's first of nearly twenty airshows of the 2018 season at Beale. The pilot of the team is Major. Paul "Loco" Lopez. During the routine, Loco showcased the multiple super maneuverability characteristics of the F-22 including tight turns, tail slides, and power loops.

The show featured a variety of different aerobatic performers throughout the day. These performers included Vicky Benzing in her Boeing Stearman biplane, Chuck Coleman in his Extra 300, and the West Coast Ravens formation team which consisted of 16 RV aircraft. In addition to multiple aerobatics, there was a good showcase of warbird aircraft featured in the sky. A WWII reenactment was conducted resembling a Pacific style battle. The aircraft that participated in the demonstration included the F6F Hellcat, Yak-9U, and PBJ Mitchell. Gregory "Wired" Colyer performed in his Korean War era T-33 Shooting Star trainer jet known as "Ace Maker II." During Colyer's routine, he showcased the many different aerobatic manoeuvres of the Shooting Star and even raced with the Smoke 'n' Thunder Jet Truck.

Team Beale had an impressive showcase of their home based aircraft throughout the day. The U-2 Dragon Lady was a major highlight of the show and performed many touch and go simulations with a Precision Exotics Ferrari as its chase car along the runway. After performing the touch and goes, the jet then lifted off to 70 thousand feet. Later the pilot also conducted a swear in for new recruits of the Air Force. It was a very rare and special way of recruiting new people into the U.S. Military. Other aircraft from Beale that performed flybys included a 4-Ship formation flight of T-38 Talons and a KC-135 Stratotanker. Later, the U-2 and two of the T-38s took back to the sky and performed a very rare formation flight together as a Team Beale tribute.

There were other military flybys throughout the day including a U.S. Coast Guard C-27J Spartan which flew in locally from McClellan Airport in Sacramento. An MC-12 Huron which was formerly based out of Beale also performed a flyby in tribute to the crew that was killed in the Indy 08 crash.

Towards the end of the show, the Patriots Jet Team took to the skies performing in their six black L-39 Albatross Czech trainer jets. The team dazzled the audience with a variety of different formations, head on passes, and even tail slides with the addition of red, white, and blue smoke. The Patriots are locally based out of Byron Airport and perform at multiple air shows across the West Coast every year.

Concluding flying activities was the second performance from the F-22 Raptor Demo Team. Loco showcased the same solo demonstration that he performed earlier in the show, but this time featured the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight afterward. The Heritage Flight is a special tribute to those who served in the Air Force from past and present by performing a formation flight of active and retired fighter aircraft. In the formation, Loco teamed up with an F-86 Sabre piloted by Kevin Eldridge. After the flying display, Loco visited the crowd line and met with spectators and passed out F-22 Demo stickers.

After the aerial activities concluded, spectators were able to continue visiting the static displays and vendors before gates closed at 5:00 pm. Special thanks to the organizers, volunteers, sponsors, performers, and attendees for making the 2018 Beale Air & Space Expo a success!



U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team & Heritage Flight with F-86 Sabre

U-2S Dragon Lady Flyby

Patriots Jet Team
U-2 Dragon Lady Fly-By & 70K Swear-In Ceremony
T-38 Talon 4-Ship Flyby
Team Beale Flyby - U-2 and 2x T-38
KC-135 Stratotanker Flyby
MC-12 Huron Indy 08 Memorial Flyby
C-27J Spartan Flyby
Gregory “Wired” Colyer - T-33 Shooting Star “Ace Maker II”
WWII Reenactment - F6F Hellcat, Yak-9U, and PBJ Mitchell
U.S. Air Force Academy Wings of Blue - CH-47 Chinook as Drop Aircraft
Vicky Benzing Stearman Aerobatics
Chuck Coleman Aerobatics
West Coast Ravens
Smoke ’n’ Thunder Jet Truck

Static Displays
F/A-18F Super Hornet - VFA-122 “Flying Eagles,” NAS Lemoore, CA
F/A-18A Hornet - NASA
Super Guppy - NASA
T-38A Talon - 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale AFB, CA
U-2 Dragon Lady - 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale AFB, CA
RQ-4 Global Hawk - 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale AFB, CA
KC-135 Stratotanker - 940th Air Refuelling Wing - Beale AFB, CA
C-17A Globemaster III - 452d Air Mobility Wing - March ARB, CA
C-5M Super Galaxy - 60th Air Mobility Wing - Travis AFB, CA
KC-10 Extender - 60th Air Mobility Wing - Travis AFB, CA

Report and photography by Geoffrey Arnwine for

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Images of Luke Days 2018
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