A busy day of schedule releases at the International Council of Air Shows Convention in Las Vegas has seen the 2024 North American airshow season start to take shape.
Most of the shows with big line ups are so far north of the border – thanks, in part, to a multinational effort to celebrate the Royal Canadian Air Force’s centenary. Two shows so far have promised double jet team headliners along with multiple fast jet solo displays. The Spectacle Aerien International de Bagotville (Jun 22-23) will feature the Snowbirds, Frecce Tricolori, RCAF CF-18 and USAF F-35, while the Quinte International Airshow in Trenton one week later will include an identical line up, but swapping the F-35 for an F-16.
The biggest military jet line up in the United States at this stage is EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh (Jul 22-28). This is the only event so far which has secured two Air Combat Command demonstration teams (the F-22 and F-16), and they will be joined by the US Marine Corps’ F-35B for what is currently the only triple-jet-solo show in North America next year. Also bolstering the line up are the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.
Two big military jet aerobatic teams headlining the same show is a rare occurance in North America, and there is just one occasion planned when the continent’s jet teams will double up next year; a new airshow in Reno, run by the National Championship Air Races, will host the Snowbirds and Blue Angels on Oct 4-6.
However, the Frecce Tricolori’s tour has created additional double-jet-team opportunities where they would never normally occur. The aforementioned airshows in Trenton and Bagotville will see the Italian team join their Canadian counterparts. The Frecce and Snowbirds will also join forces in Cold Lake on Jul 20-21. Additionally, the Frecce Tricolori will cross paths with the Thunderbirds at the Milwaukee Air & Water Show (Jul 27-28) and the New York Airshow (Aug 10-11). They are not due to fly alongside the Blue Angels, per the current schedule.
Not every show has been so lucky and the Frecce Tricolori’s tour has not included several Canadian events that were hotly tipped by airshow fans to host the acclaimed Italian team. Perhaps most notable is the Abbotsford Airshow (Aug 9-11), at which the only international participant so far confirmed is the US Air Force’s F-22 solo.
The full schedules released at the ICAS Convention can be found here.
- USAF Thunderbirds 2024-25
- USN Blue Angels 2024-25
- USAF Air Combat Command (F-22, F-35A, F-16, A-10)
- US Marine Corps (MV-22, F-35B)
- Canadian Forces Snowbirds
- RCAF CF-18
- AMI Frecce Tricolori North American tour
This is not the complete picture, however, with several notable schedule announcements yet to unfold.
The US Navy is a major supporter of airshows in the USA, and the air arm fields two solo displays (F-35C Lightning II and F/A-18F Super Hornet) and one highly-acclaimed two-ship tactical display comprising a pair of EA-18G Growlers. The dates for these performances are not yet known, but, when published, more airshows could emerge from the pack as being among the year’s outstanding North American aviation spectacles.
Another major pending announcement is the schedule of the RAF Red Arrows’ Canadian tour, pencilled in for August and early September, but still pending final approval. This could bolster major Canadian airshows such as Abbotsford and London which have so far missed out on a foreign jet team in their air arm’s centenary year.
Finally, international appearances for the US Air Force’s solo display teams are common, but are not typically announced at the ICAS Convention. Air Combat Command demonstration teams generally confirm appearances outside the continental United States at a later date, while assets based outside the USA (such as the PACAF F-16 demonstration team) do not have a formal schedule release.