MCAS Cherry Point Air Show named Best in the U.S.

North Carolina's biggest air show wins big with readers

From late spring through mid-autumn, skies across the United States play host to some of summer's highest octane events: air shows. Attending one of these 10 American air shows, a selection of the best in the nation, lets aviation enthusiasts get up close to a variety of flying machines while watching stunt teams and pilots show off their skills high in the sky. And you don't have to be an enthusiast to have a good time either. 

  • MCAS Cherry Point Air Show
    Havelock, N.C.

    Each May the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point welcomes eastern North Carolina's biggest airshow to town with performances by both the Blue Angels and Canadian Forces Snowbirds. Attendees can watch numerous civilian and military acrobatic demonstrations, as well as get up close to a collection of historic and modern aircraft.
    Photo courtesy of MCAS Cherry Point Air Show

  • NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show
    Pensacola, Fla.

    The NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show celebrates Veteran's Day Weekend with night time performances to close out the airshow season, as well as one of the largest fireworks displays in the Pensacola area.
    Photo courtesy of Rian Castillo / Flickr

  • Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show
    Fort Worth

    Featured performers at the Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show each October often include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, Canadian Forces Snowbirds, Wings of Blue Parachute Team, numerous stunt pilots and the fan favorite Shockwave Jet Truck, the world's fastest jet-powered semi.
    Photo courtesy of Glenn Watson/Mach Point One Aviation Photography

  • 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 some of the newest jet fighters in the United States Armed Forces.
    Photo courtesy of Vectren Dayton Air Show

  • Thunder Over Michigan Air Show
    Ypsilanti, Mich.

    The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Team Oracle headline at this annual August event. Visitors can get up close with numerous vintage and modern planes or even hop in the seat of a Waco Biplane, B-25 Yankee Warrior or B-17 Yankee Lady for a flight.
    Photo courtesy of Mike Boening Photography / Flickr

  • Reno Championship Air Races
    Reno

    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 above the Nevada desert.
    Photo courtesy of tataquax / Flickr

  • The Great Pacific Airshow
    Huntington Beach, Calif.

    During this October event in Huntington Beach, the headlining U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are joined by aerial performers like Mike Wiskus Lucas Oil Acrobatics, Blackstone Aviation and even a demo flight by a Douglas C-47 from the Lyon Air Museum.
    Photo courtesy of Moto "Club4AG" Miwa / Flickr

  • Mid-Atlantic Air Museum's World War II Weekend
    Reading, Penn.

    Reading Regional Airport plays host to one of the best air shows for WWII buffs: the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum World War II 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

  • San Francisco Fleet Week Air Show
    San Francisco

    The skies over San Francisco's waterfront come to life for three days during Fleet Week each October. More than a million spectators turn up to watch the Blue Angels, Canadian Snowbirds, Navy Leap Frogs, Team Oracle and numerous other aerial performers.
    Photo courtesy of Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

  • 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 each May. This show, popular with aviation and history buffs alike, features some 40 vintage and historic aircraft in the sunny California skies.
    Photo courtesy of Airwolfhound / Flickr

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

  1. MCAS Cherry Point Air Show - Havelock, N.C.
  2. NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show - Pensacola, Fla.
  3. Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show - Fort Worth
  4. Vectren Dayton Air Show - Dayton, Ohio
  5. Thunder Over Michigan Air Show - Ypsilanti, Mich.
  6. Reno Championship Air Races - Reno
  7. The Great Pacific Airshow - Huntington Beach, Calif.
  8. Mid-Atlantic Air Museum's World War II Weekend - Reading, Penn.
  9. San Francisco Fleet Week Air Show - San Francisco
  10. Planes of Fame Air Show - Chino, Calif.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Ron Rapp and David M. Vanderhoof (Airplane Geeks Podcast) were chosen based on their knowledge of the air show scene.

Congratulations to all these winning events!

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Ron Rapp

Ron Rapp

David M. Vanderhoof

David M. Vanderhoof