SANTA MARIA, Calif. - If you like airshows with current military aircraft and stunning aerobatics then mark your calendar for the first weekend in October when the first Central Coast AirFest comes to the Santa Maria Airport.
Organizers hosted a Santa Maria-style BBQ lunch at the airport's Central Coast Jet Center Friday for military pilots, public safety professionals and community leaders to promote the inaugural event.
On display for the invited guests were a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet and two F-5 fighter jets that are expected to participate in the airshow in October.
"The Fleet is phasing out the legacy Hornet we call it, we still have them up in Fallon (Naval Air Station), Nevada for training purposes, the Super Hornet's are what a majority of the Fleet is now", said U.S. Naval Cmdr. Corey Pritchard who flies the F/A-18 Super Hornet, "It's 30% larger than the legacy Hornet is, it has one of the more advanced radar systems that's out there and it just overall has more stations that can carry weapons and overall better avionics inside, so just more capability."
A major attraction at the Central Coast AirFest in October will be Canada's Snowbirds Military Aerobatics Squadron.
"If you talk to nine out of ten people that know airshows they'll take the Snowbirds over anything because of their precision, they fly a nine aircraft routine", said Central Coast AirFest organizer Chris Kunkle, "right now we're at about 40 military aircraft, we have F-35's, we have F-18's, we have F-5's, the ones you saw on the ramp out there, we're working on very close to sealing a deal on a B-1 Bomber."
Other attractions at the airshow will include a play zone for children, food trucks, beer garden and tractor display.
"That's basically my whole goal, when I took it over I wanted to make sure that every piece of the community is involved", Kunkle said, "whether that's our tractor manufacturers, whether that's our kids, our aviation nuts, our food truck nuts, our beer fest guys, everybody is involved."
To learn more about the 2018 Central Coast AirFest visit www.centralcoastairfest.com.