California Capital Airshow Breaks Attendance Records

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Shaei Rodriguez
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing

The California Capital Airshow (CCA) returned for its 17th year with hundreds of demonstrations, static displays, and aviation enthusiasts ready to share their passion for flying.

All weekend, military and civilian pilots flew incredible shows for a crowd of more than 105,000 with the goal of inspiring the next generation of aviators. Pilots were then available to give tours of their planes and answer questions about aviation.

“Although it’s interesting to read about aviation, I think it’s imperative that people see the aircraft in flight, or even on static display,” said Jacob Alwazani, a high school junior. “It helps show that the aircraft aren’t just something out of a book, but real pieces of machinery, flown, and pushed to their limits by pilots around the world.”

Team Beale had a massive presence at the airshow by bringing Airmen from all around the base, including military working dog handlers, explosive ordnance disposal technicians, and aircraft maintainers. Flyers from Beale then performed Saturday and Sunday with the U-2 Dragon Lady and two T-38 Talons while providing opportunities to interact with Beale pilots near the static displays.

“We’ve got our U-2 and two T-38s flying in the show and they put in a lot of time to ensure that the airshow is flown the correct way,” said Jon “Huggy” Huggins, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron instructor pilot. “There’s a very specific way you fly an airshow and they’re are top professionals.”

The airshow also included programs like Girls in Aviation Day, where girls ages 9-18 were invited to learn more about what their future may look like in aviation, aerospace, or related career fields. Attendees had the opportunity to ask seasoned female pilots, maintainers, and combat system operators from Beale Air Force Base, Travis Air Force Base, United Postal Service, Mach Five Aviation, Metro Fire, and William Jessup University about their careers in aviation.

“The greatest thrill for us this weekend is knowing that we have inspired young people to dream big and explore the world of aviation and STEM,” said Terrence McNamara, CCA Board Chairman.

The final spectacle was reserved for the Air Force Thunderbirds, who headlined the airshow. They dazzled viewers with precision flying and perfectly choregraphed aerobatics.

“Seeing the Thunderbirds perform certainly lived up to the hype,” said Alwazani. “With how close they were to each other when they did their aerobic stunts, it really shows the sheer amount of practice they put into making airshows that much more entertaining for onlookers.”

The CCA is an enormous project that require months to plan and coordinate, but the CCA team is committed to bringing joy and excitement to Sacramento’s aviation community.

“The feeling of brining the Airshow back to full capacity for the first time since 2019 is indescribable,” said Darcy Brewer, CCA Executive Director. “It was the perfect weekend, made even more memorable by seeing the joy and excitement the event brought to the Sacramento region’s families and aviation enthusiasts.”