NAS Oceana Air Show FAQs
What time do The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds Perform?
This information has yet to be released, but the U.S.A.F Thunderbirds performance will likely begin between 3 and 4 p.m. Additional information and exact schedule times will be released closer to the event date.
What time can I come on base on Saturday or Sunday?
On Saturday and Sunday, 21-22 September, the gates open to the public at 8 a.m. Flying starts at about 10:20 am and runs until around 4 p.m. or later. Additional information and exact schedule times will be released closer to the event date.
What is the cost of the show?
Admission and parking at the show are free. You can purchase upgraded seating either online via the website (http://www.oceanaairshow.com/tickets/) or at the show itself. You can also purchase tickets to the Executive Squadron Chalet, a fully catered experience with food, beverage, and seating.
What are the prices for paid seating and the Executive Squadron Chalet?
- Bleacher Seating - $4 online ($5 day of show)
- General Seating - $9 online ($10 day of show)
- Reserved Seats - $14 online ($15 day of show)
- Executive Squadron Chalet – Adults $60, Kids ages 6-12 $30, kids 5 & under Free
What are the different chalets?
There are two chalets available. The first is the fully catered Executive Squadron Chalet (ESC). Tickets are available at the NAS Oceana Air Show website (www.oceanaairshow.com); adults are $60 each, children 6-12 are $30 each. The ESC provides seating, some shade and a host of food and beverage options during the air show. You can also purchase tickets to the “Paid Shade” chalet for $10. Paid Shade has no food/beverage available but offers a break from the sun. Tickets for Paid Shade are available for sale on site.
What STEM exhibits will be featured at the Air Show?
This information is yet to be released.
What is the difference between Reserved and General seating?
Reserved seats are the first five rows of paid seating. These seats are numbered so you have the same chair for the duration of the event. The general seats are the next ten rows of seats but they are general admission seats so if you leave during the event you may not be able to return to the same chair.
What is the food menu in the Executive Squadron Chalet?
The menu consists of a fruit & vegetable station, hot dogs, chicken tenders, deli trays w/ sliced ham and turkey, pasta salad, nachos w/cheese, potato chips, dessert station, draft beer, soda, and bottled water.
Executive squadron chalet info?
The Executive Squadron Chalet (ESC) is a fully catered experience with the best seats in the house! Ticket prices are 60 for adults, $30 for kids ages 6-12 $30, kids 5 & under are free. The menu consists of a fruit & vegetable station, hot dogs, chicken tenders, deli trays w/ sliced ham and turkey, pasta salad, nachos w/cheese, potato chips, dessert station, draft beer, soda, and bottled water.
Is there Special Needs seating?
Yes. We have a very robust Special Needs effort at the show to include roving golf carts and a special seating area right near the action. Please make sure your vehicle prominently displays a handicapped placard, and you’ll be routed to special parking areas and met by our Special Needs transportation staff.
Are the Saturday and Sunday shows the same?
Yes. The Saturday and Sunday shows are identical.
Can I bring a pop-up canopy tent (10’x10’) for shade?
No, but you can bring umbrellas and folding chairs.
Can we bring in picnic lunches and drinks?
No food or beverage is permitted into the show, but there are a large number of food vendors on the flight line with a huge assortment of different types of foods at very reasonable prices.
Where can I get a schedule of events and performers for the day so I know what time different acts are flying?
A detailed schedule and sequence of events will be available on this website in early September (http://www.oceanaairshow.com/schedule-performers). As a general rule of thumb, flying will start around 10 am. Between 11 am and 12 pm you will see the National Anthem and several military demonstrations. After 12 pm, the pace of action will begin to increase with the U.S.A.F Thunderbirds performance beginning between 3 and 4 p.m. Additional information and exact schedule times will be released closer to the event date.
Who is in charge of booking vendors? How do I become a vendor?
If you’re interested in being a vendor at the NAS Oceana Air Show, please call (757) 433-2054.
Will the golf carts be available again?
We have a VERY robust Special Needs effort during the show. There are a large number of multi-passenger golf carts to provide service to those that require mobility assistance. These carts typically run routes from the pedestrian entrances to various areas of the show. If you find yourself in need of assistance, please look for any air show staff personnel (staff, security, medical) and they’ll locate the nearest golf cart.
Food options? Cash only?
There will be a large number of food vendors on the flight line during the show ranging from full meals (pizza, gyros, hamburgers, hotdogs, etc.) to specialty foods (ice cream, desserts, etc.), as well as beverages. A good number of the vendors take credit cards or cash. If you need cash while at the show, we’re planning on having ATMs available on the flight line for your use.
While we’re still designing the flight line layout, the ATMs are historically located on the back of the line (by the hangars) near show center at Hangar 200.
Child safe areas? Mother/child care/breastfeeding area?
The entire flight line and displays are designed for a very family-friendly, kid-safe environment. All ages will find something they’re interested in. We’ll also have the “Kids Fest” vendor that will sell wristbands to access a large number of jump houses, bungee jumpers, rock walls, etc. We do not have a specific area set aside for breastfeeding but there are a number of shady areas for use.
No food or beverage of any kind can be brought into the show but there will be beer sales on the flight line during the show.
Restroom availability? Handicap accessible? Electronic scooters?
There will be more than enough port-o-potties available for your use throughout the flight line and a good number of them are handicap accessible. If you arrive with an electric scooter and need access to Special Needs parking, please display your Special Needs placard prominently, and you’ll be routed to the proper area. Once there, you will enter via our screening process.
Pets? Emotional Support animals?
No pets are authorized on the flight line. Only designated service animals are allowed.
Parking free? Locations? Handicap parking?
All parking is free and we utilize large areas of the flight line, Main Gate park and lots throughout the base. Upon arrival, please follow the direction of our Security team and they will guide you to parking. If you require Handicap or Special Needs parking, please display your Handicap Placard prominently and you’ll be directed to the appropriate parking lot.
Map available? Map showing parking areas?
The Flagship newspaper will be distributing programs at the air show this year and this program will contain a map of the key features on the flight line. It does not show parking areas, as guests will be directed to parking lots based on the current traffic flow and lot status.
The only photo restriction in place is that no photography is allowed into or inside any aircraft hangar.
Can you leave anytime? Can you come back if you leave?
On Saturday and Sunday, 21 - 22 September, the gates open to the public at 8 am, flying starts around 10 am and the U.S.A.F Thunderbirds performance will likely begin between 3 and 4 p.m. Additional information and exact schedule times will be released closer to the event date. Early arrival is best to avoid traffic. You may leave at any time and re-enter after you leave, but bear in mind traffic gets heavier as the day goes along, and you’ll need to exit the base and re-enter with incoming vehicles.
One one-way in and out - what is the traffic pattern?
This information is yet to be released for 2019, but in past years, there are two primary ways onto the base via the Main Gate (Tomcat Blvd off of Oceana Blvd) and the Back Gate (Hornet Drive off of Dam Neck Rd.). Each of those routes take you to different parking areas. The traffic pattern and parking lot routing is determined real-time in response to the amount of vehicles and status of the respective parking lots. Upon exit, 3 gates are opened and we do our best to get everyone off the base as fast as we can.
Prohibited items? Specifics.
Our primary goal is to ensure the safety of all visitors to NAS Oceana. In accordance with Department of Defense/Department of the Navy regulations and policy, all bags and hand-carried items are subject to search and inspection prior to entry onto the flight line. Additionally, all visitors are required to enter the flight line via walk-through metal detectors. All bags and hand-carried items will be run through X-ray scanners or visually searched/inspected inside and out to ensure the safety of all guests. Failure to comply with this inspection will result in denial of access to the air show ramp.
Oversized bags / Camera Bags & Equipment
Any bag too large to fit through the X-ray scanner will be visually searched/inspected inside and out by our security staff. While there is no size restriction on camera lenses, any camera lens over approximately 12 inches long will require visual inspection prior to authorization for entry. Photographers are authorized to assist our security personnel with the visual inspection of lenses over 12” to avoid potential damage to your equipment. Our security staff are in place to ensure the safety of all visitors so your cooperation with this process is greatly appreciated. Failure to comply with this inspection will result in denial of access to the air show ramp.
To keep delays to a minimum, remember that the following items are not permitted on to the flight line and may be confiscated:
- Ice chests or coolers
- Remote control aircraft, drones, balloons (flight safety issue)
- All weapons (regardless of permit) including firearms, knives (including pocket knives and multi-tools), walking sticks (except for handicap use) and all other items that the security force deems dangerous. Any confiscated items will not be returned.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Pets (other than service animals)
- Glass containers
- Bicycles, roller skates, roller blades or skateboards
It is recommended that spectators minimize the number and size of authorized items to reduce the time required for inspection prior to access into the flight line area. The following items are permitted:
- Cell phones, tablets and FRS transceivers (may be asked to turn off/on)
- Handheld portable televisions, radios and scanners
- Small fanny packs and purses
- Cameras and camcorders (owners should not load film prior to entering the show area as they may be required to open all compartments at Security Checkpoints).
- Camera Bags will be searched upon entry
- Folding chairs and lawn chairs (chairs in bags subject to search)
- Umbrellas and sunshades
- Baby bags and strollers, if attending with an infant or small child (strollers are not permitted in the grandstand area; adjacent stroller parking is available).
- Smoking (cigarettes and e-cigarettes): Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the flight line in the vicinity of aircraft, vendor tents or chalets. There is a smoking area designated by signage at the “back line” of the air show to the left of show center.
Can I bring drinks? Food?
No outside food or beverage may be brought to the air show.
For mothers, what items can be brought?
In general, the flight line is designed to be a family-friendly environment. Accordingly, our security procedures allow baby bags and strollers. While all bags will be screened, our staff understands that baby bags will contain water or formula. We also recommend hearing protection for smaller children. For kids under 10, hearing protection in the form of ear muffs (like you’d see at a shooting range or loud workplace) seems to work best as they don’t generally like the foam earplugs that adults are used to.
Gate/security entry details?
There are three primary entry points onto the flight line and all are equipped with TSA-style screening upon arrival.
Expected entry/exit time?
On Saturday and Sunday, 22 - 23 September, the gates open to the public at 8 am, flying starts around 10 am and the U.S.A.F Thunderbirds performance starts between 3 and 4 p.m. Additional information exact schedule times will be released closer to the event date. Early arrival is best to avoid traffic. You may leave at any time during the show. Some depart before the Thunderbirds perform to “beat the traffic” and other stays through the Thunderbirds performance and a little later to enjoy the displays and let the existing traffic dissipate. We do ask that all guest departs the flight line by 5 pm.
What items should I bring?
The NAS Oceana flight line is a very large area so we definitely recommend comfortable footwear. September temperatures are generally mild but be prepared to protect yourself from the sun with a hat, long-sleeved light shirt and sunscreen. There are paid seating areas if you desire to upgrade your experience but you’re more than welcome to bring your own chairs (folding or bagged) to find a spot to set up and watch the show. There are a large number of food/beverage vendors as well that accept cash or credit. And please keep in mind that your safety is our primary concern. Remember the following important safety tips:
Uniformed security personnel are there to help. Follow all instructions from uniformed security personnel.
Very few things on our flight line are soft to the touch; most things are made of metal and have lots of edges on them. Keep your eyes focused in the direction you’re walking and be aware of low-hanging (and flying!) aircraft components.
Medical personnel are on call to render assistance to anyone that requires it. Notify any uniformed security person or air show worker if you or any member of your group requires medical attention.
Newborns don’t possess the ability to regulate their body temperature very well in hot or cold environments. While they don’t produce much heat internally, they absorb it very well. The conditions on the flight line during mid-September can sometimes be relatively mild but can also get rather warm, depending on forecast temperatures. Also, there is a significant amount of jet noise associated with tactical aircraft and Thunderbirds performances. You would definitely want to consult with your pediatrician prior to bringing your newborn to the air show.
Baby changing area?
We will have seven port-o-potties with baby changing stations on the flight line.
Strollers allowed? Umbrellas allowed?
Strollers and umbrellas are authorized on the flight line during the show. When using and umbrella for shade, please remember to be courteous to the air show fans behind you and try to not block their view.
Stand seating on Friday?
The paid seating area at the air show on Friday is reserved for Virginia Beach City Public School students. The entire 5th grade (5,500 kids!) is coming to the show on Friday to participate in the STEM event that occurs annually.
While there are no specific medical restrictions, the air show environment can be challenging for some, especially if it is warmer than normal. Attending an air show can involve lots of walking and sometimes high temperatures. We have a very robust medical presence on the flight line in the event of a medical emergency, but guests should use sound judgment based on pre-existing medical conditions or medications.
Who are the performers?
This information is yet to be released for 2019 and will be posted closer to the event date at http://www.oceanaairshow.com/schedule-performers.
What are the static displays?
The Static Display list is still under development and we should have a good idea of who’s planning on attending by early August.
Where do DOD card holders sit on Friday? Seating map for the entire event available?
During the Friday DoD/Dependents/Special Needs Air Show on Friday, the paid seating area is reserved for the entire 5th grade class of Virginia Beach City Public Schools (5,500 kids!) who are attending the show for a STEM field trip. Guests are encouraged to bring folding chairs on Friday (and on the weekend as well).
Size of bags allowed? What type of bags, diaper, medical?
We discourage large bags (larger than backpack size) in order to facilitate a more rapid screening process. All bags entering the flight line will be X-rayed much like at the airport. Diaper and medical bags are naturally authorized to support our guests.
If someone like a balloon artist, face painter, etc. would like to be involved, how would they forward their request?
We discourage balloons at the air show for safety reasons (hazard to aircraft). Additionally, legal policy does not allow us to host support elements like this that accept tips in return for service.