Joint Base Andrews 2022 Air & Space Expo
After two years of Covid-19 lock-downs, the USAF Academy Wings of Blue and US Army Golden Knights parachute teams were back in the sky over JB Andrews, MD. Jumping from 12,000 feet and unfurling a large American flag, to the playing of the American National Anthem, the opening ceremonies for the Joint Base Andrews 2022 Air & Space Expo Show were underway.
First to take to the air were flybys by Andrews own; an 89th Airlift Wing VC-40, a 1st HS UH-1s, four 113th Wing F-16s and a 459th Air Reserve Wing KC-135. Traditionally, the 113th Wing only fly during the Friday DoD / Media show. This year, the public was able to appreciate these Capital Guardians, flying their F-16s Saturday and Sunday as well. Following closely behind, as an early show teaser, the USAF F-35A Lightning II added to the jet noise with multiple passes.
This year’s air show also recognized the USAF 75th anniversary with a WWII warbird racetrack flight of B-25, B-24, B-17 and B-29 bombers. The bombers lit up the sky with orange flames and large balls of black smoke from pyrotechnics at mid-field. AFTERSHOCK Fire Truck continued to throw large flames and plumes of smoke onto the airfield with it’s 300+ mph run down the runway. When the field was cleared of smoke and flames, from Charleston, SC, the massive USAF C-17 Globemaster III demonstrated it’s awesome take-off, lift, maneuvering and short-field landing capabilities. A US Coast Guard MH-65D Dolphin then flew in from Atlantic City, NJ and showed the crowd what they do on a regular basis; search and rescue missions, and saving lives.
Next, the crowd was enthusiastically entertained by Kent Pietsch’s Comedy Routine, Truck-Top and later Dead-Stick landing demonstrations. Nobody flies a Piper Cub like Kent! The audience was then further thrilled with civilian aerobatic demonstrations by Rob Holland in his MXS and Patty Wagstaff’s Extra 330. Rob has been a world aerobatic champion since 2006. Seventy-one year old Patty Wagstaff has been flying aerobatics since 1981.
There was also plenty to do and see on the ground as well. Andrews shows are well known for their large collection of static show aircraft and 2022 was no exception. The large planes consisted of every USAF type bomber, transport and refuelers along with a multiple assortment of fighters. The other services were also well represented including several types of US Army helicopters.
Later in the day, the crowd surged forward to see Major Kristin “BEO” Wolfe, in her USAF F-35A Lightning II, tear up the sky. With afterburners on, she made multiple high-speed “zoomie” passes before lighting up the field with heat and smoke pyrotechnics. “BEO” then joined up with Jim Beasly in his P-51 Mustang for the USAF Heritage Flight. The USAF Thunderbirds completed the day with clear sky high-shows that included three high-speed sneak passes!!
For the weekend, the show attracted over 68,000 live spectators along with 36,000 online viewers. The next Andrews airshow is projected for May 17-19, 2024.