Air shows are returning to Edwards Air Force Base, as its leadership is partnering with the five-year-old Los Angeles County Air Show to offer world-class events that will alternate sites between the storied base and Gen. William J. Fox Field in Lancaster, the show’s home since 2014.
Officials with the 412th Test Wing at Edwards and Los Angeles County Air Show, Inc. announced they are working on an agreement for a formal four-year partnership to conduct the air shows, which paves the way for a return of the popular events to the base where they have been absent since 2009.
“We’re very excited to put Edwards Air Force Base back on the air show map as ‘the center of the aerospace testing universe’,” Brig. Gen. E. John Teichert, 412th Test Wing Commander, said. “This partnership provides an amazing opportunity to inspire and educate adults and youth throughout the entire region and to showcase to the American people what we provide to the war fighter. Edwards is committed to supporting the AV community with the air show at Fox Field in 2019 and at our base in 2020.”
The partnership brings a change in the show’s time frame, as well, shifting from March to October, when the Valley’s weather is more conducive to the outdoor event. October was also traditionally the time frame for the Edwards’ air shows, which typically commemorated the Oct. 14, 1947 sound-barrier-busting flight of the X-1 over the base.
Officials have outlined a schedule for the next four years of shows. The 2019 edition is set for Oct. 18 to 20 at Fox Field.
In 2020, the air show will move to Edwards, from Oct. 16 to 18, then back to Fox Field from Oct. 15 to 17, 2021.
The 2022 edition is scheduled for Oct. 14 to 16 at Edwards.
The non-profit Los Angeles County Air Show was formed in response to the cessation of the popular air shows at Edwards. In five years of events at Fox Field, the program has included world-class performances by the Navy’s Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbird teams, as well as warbirds, aerobatics and demonstrations of current military aircraft.
As organizers began planning the sixth annual event, Edwards’ leadership reached out to begin talks about working in tandem on future air shows, Los Angeles County Air Show President Mike VanKirk said.
“We were thrilled to start the conversation, and it quickly became apparent that a formal partnership would provide unique opportunities on several levels.,” VanKirk said. “The unbridled passion and commitment we all have in bringing awe inspiring ‘in the air’ performances, static displays and educational STEM experiences to this community will truly deepen the fan experience.”
The Los Angeles County Air Show began with participation from area aerospace companies, numerous community sponsors, Los Angeles County 5th District and the city of Lancaster. Over the years, the event has grown to incorporate more activities, history panels and an extensive science, technology, engineering and math exhibition.
The organization also provides scholarships for local students studying STEM fields.
The change in the annual event’s time frame provides an additional advantage this year, given plans to upgrade the Fox Field runway.
“With the William J. Fox Field runway construction upgrades scheduled to be in full swing first quarter of 2019, it made sense for our Board of Directors to re-evaluate the timing of the air show,” VanKirk said. “As our strategy session progressed, the conversations with Edwards Air Force Base evolved and a partnership made perfect sense. It’s a natural fit and we are delighted with the opportunities that will make this world class air show even better for 2019 and beyond.”