Best Air Show (2017)


There's nothing quite like the high octane energy of an air show, where stunt teams and pilots show off their skills. Attending one of these 10 American air shows, a selection of the best in the nation according to our readers, lets aviation enthusiasts get up close to a variety of flying machines (and you don't have to be an enthusiast to have a good time).

  • National Championship Air Races

    National Championship Air Races

    While the annual National Championship Air Races in Reno every September has its fair share of airplane acrobatics, the real reason pilots come back year after year is for the racing. Six classes of aircraft go head to head on 3- to 8-mile race courses in the sky.
    Photo courtesy of tataquax / Flickr

  • EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

    EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
    Oshkosh, Wis.

    The town of Oshkosh, Wis. hosts the largest annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts in the country during the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. With more than 10,000 aircraft in attendance, there's a little bit of everything represented, including warbirds, home-built aircraft, ultralights and vintage planes.
    Photo courtesy of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

  • Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show

    Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show
    Battle Creek, Mich.

    This mid-summer event in Michigan is an air show and balloon festival rolled into one. The show's signature event is the Tora Tora Tora act, a commemorative reenactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor featuring eight replica Japanese aircraft and some 60 pyrotechnical effects.
    Photo courtesy of Battle Creek CVB / Flickr

  • NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show

    NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show
    Pensacola, Fla.

    The NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show celebrates Veteran's Day and features night time performances as well as one of the largest fireworks displays in the Pensacola area.
    Photo courtesy of Carlos Menendez San Juan / Flickr

  • Mid-Atlantic Air Museum WWII Weekend

    Mid-Atlantic Air Museum WWII Weekend
    Reading, Penn.

    Reading Regional Airport plays host to one of the best air shows for WWII buffs: the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum WWII Weekend. Highlights include FIFI, the only flying B-29 Boeing Superfortress in the world, as well as a performance by the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team. Flight enthusiasts can even book a ride in a warbird.
    Photo courtesy of Pablo Sanchez / Flickr

  • Planes of Fame Air Show

    Planes of Fame Air Show
    Chino, Calif.

    The Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, Calif. is the setting for the annual Planes of Fame Air Show. This show, popular with aviation and history buffs alike, features some 50 vintage aircraft in the sunny California skies.
    Photo courtesy of Tomás Del Coro / Flickr

  • MCAS Miramar Air Show

    MCAS Miramar Air Show
    San Diego

    Come autumn, pilots take to the very same skies where the American classic Top Gun was filmed during the MCAS Miramar Air Show in San Diego. It's the largest military show in the United States, and spectators are treated to a performance by the Blue Angels each and every year.
    Photo courtesy of Tomás Del Coro / Flickr

  • Vectren Dayton Air Show

    Vectren Dayton Air Show
    Dayton, Ohio

    The Vectren Dayton Air Show packs two days with more than a dozen aerial performances. Those who want a closer look will find 24 aircraft on display, including the F-35 Lightening II, the newest jet fighter in the U.S. armed forces.
    Photo courtesy of Vectren Dayton Air Show

  • SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In & Expo

    SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In & Expo
    Lakeland, Fla.

    Florida's Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo, an early-season event, invites solo pilots, military stunt teams and aviation exhibitors to Lakeland, Fla. for plenty of family fun. Enthusiasts who've ever wanted to go up in one of these more eclectic aircraft will have plenty of opportunity at this show.
    Photo courtesy of VisitCentralFL / Flickr

  • Chicago Air and Water Show

    Chicago Air and Water Show

    Each summer, millions of visitors flock to the Chicago lakefront for a spectacular display of aerial and nautical stunts: the Chicago Air & Water Show. Everything from military fighter jets to civilian aircraft to water skiers are visible from the beach stretching from Oak Street to Fullerton Avenue. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are always one of the highlights of the weekend, which has been running for more than 50 years.
    Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography


The top 10 winners in the category Best Air Show are as follows:

  1. National Championship Air Races - Reno
  2. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - Oshkosh, Wis.
  3. Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show - Battle Creek, Mich.
  4. NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show - Pensacola, Fla.
  5. Mid-Atlantic Air Museum WWII Weekend - Reading, Penn.
  6. Planes of Fame Air Show - Chino, Calif.
  7. MCAS Miramar Air Show - San Diego
  8. Vectren Dayton Air Show - Dayton, Ohio
  9. SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In & Expo - Lakeland, Fla.
  10. Chicago Air and Water Show - Chicago

Congratulations to all these winning events! Remember to mark your calendars and keep your eyes on the sky.

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