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 Where? NAS Oceana, VA - USA
When? 24-26/09/2004

After the retirement of the Starfighter (see Pratica di Mare Airshow) one jet still to see was highon my list: the Gruman F-14 Tomcat, the last of the big fighters. When they have disappeard from the aircraft carriers in the Pacific and will see their end within the next few years my goal was clear:Oceana, located on the eastcoast of the USA,about a 4h drive south of Washington DC.

 Oceana, together with theneigbouring Norfolk, is the main base of the Atlantic fleet and also home of Tomcat now.End of September the annual airshow was held, this year the theme was "Pursuit of Liberty". Indeed the entrance was free, but I can assure that my credit suffered quite a bit in the souvenir alley where I was snapping for Tomcat patches, T-Shirts... like a lot more other people as well.

 As usual on big American shows the static display was wide and really accessible, which can sometimes be quite frustrating for the photographer. The static was really interesting with all the different Navy jets, but with the Norfolk base nearby I did miss a DC-9 and a C-2 Greyhound which would have been nice in the static display. Also no colourful F/A-18 of VFC-12 "Fighting Omars" could be seen on the ramp though they are based at Oceana. But well, do not worry, there have been 3 Tomcats, a rare OV-10A and a lot of other interesting aircraft in the static display. And no F-16, which was quite a surprise.
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F-14 Tomcats - Airpower Demo & Solo Display

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The numbers speak for itself: with 290.000 visitors the Airpower Airshow at Zeltweg, Austria is clearly the biggest and may also well be the best Airshow in Europe. The 9.5 hours long lasting flight display alone was more than one good reason to go there for a day.

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