THREE COAST AVIATION
Naval Air Station Oceana
Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana is one of my favourite places due to the air shows that I attended in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact the whole area, from Langley AFB through Norfolk and Newport News to Virginia Beach and the Atlantic Ocean will always hold a special place with me. My father and I started going to the Oceana Air Show in 1997, and while we just missed the sunset of the A-6 Intruder, we were treated to almost 10 years of the F-14 Tomcat. Tomcats had always been a fairly rare attendee at air shows in Ontario in the 1980s and 1990s so when we went down for our first trip we were blown away by the number on base. This was right after NAS Miramar transferred to the Marine Corps so every F-14 Squadron west of Iran was based at Oceana. The base got even busier a couple years later when NAS Cecil Field closed and the F/A-18 Hornets moved in. When the Tomcat was retired it was replaced by the Super Hornet, so the base is still one of the busiest in the world. In the spring of 2016 we headed down for the Air Power over Hampton Roads event and spent a couple days after the show spotting outside Oceana. The evening of Tuesday April 26 was especially lucrative for photography as both Hornets and Super Hornets approached Runway 23R during some of the nicest golden light I have ever enjoyed. While Oceana is not the most convenient place to get to, especially since I prefer heading to the southwestern United States, I do hope to get back to the area again soon, hopefully when VFC-12 and their adversary aircraft are flying.