California Airshow Includes Beach Runway

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Scores of attendees, aircraft and performers will again flock to Huntington Beach this fall for the Pacific Airshow—a cornerstone event for Southern California and the largest airshow in the U.S. by attendance. 

To commemorate its return to Surf City Oct. 4-6, event officials made history by landing two aircraft on the beach—a preview of what’s to come as this year’s airshow marks the first time a temporary runway will be built on the sand giving spectators an up-close look at the action. The airshow is held right on the beach so aircraft launch and recover from a nearby airport.

“Our team is relentless in our pursuit of innovation and our commitment to continually evolve this event. This year is no exception as we will build the very first temporary ocean-front runway at an Airshow,” said Kevin Elliott, Pacific Airshow’s executive director. “Our vision has always been to bring the Airshow to the people and this new infrastructure will allow us to bring the public closer to our world than ever before.”

In addition to dozens of military and civilian performers, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team and the A-10 Demo Team are a few of the show’s most anticipated headliners. 

2024 marks the eighth year Pacific Airshow will return to Huntington Beach. According to the event, last year’s three-day gathering drew in an estimated 700,000 spectators with thousands more watching from nearby homes, rooftops and balconies from surrounding cities. 

“Pacific Airshow is a tentpole event on the City of Huntington Beach’s annual calendar,” said Gracey Van Der Mark, mayor of Huntington Beach. “The Airshow drives tremendous economic impact for our local businesses and provides a global exposure platform that attracts visitors throughout the year.”

More information can be found on the event’s website.

Amelia Walsh
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Very cool. I hope the organizers can make it happen without some kind of grandstanding “protests”. Contrary to popular belief, California is not 100% down the tubes. Some fine people still live there. For now.

    • Indeed. It’s one of the best places in the world to fly. And home to more GA aircraft than any other State. Full disclosure; including mine.

      • Agree. Will be retiring to SLO. I only hope they don’t take my avgas away, at least not without making alcohol free Mogas available.

  2. Awfully squishy claim, “largest airshow by attendance”. Not that EAA (or frankly event of such size) has a very transparent or verifiable process to count viewers for such a difficult-to-measure quantity.

  3. Ramstein Germany 28 Aug 1988. Frecce Tricolori crash into spectators kills 70 and injures 500
    Sknyliv Ukraine, 27 July 2002. SU27 crash into spectators kills 77 and injures 543
    Shoreham UK 27 July 2002 Jet crash off the airport killed 11 injured 16.
    The above brought to you courtesy of “Careless and Reckless Jet Airshow Pilots Ltd”. Scheduled to perform at Oshkosh in July.
    That will be the end of Airshows in the US and likely the end of EAA.
    The ugly truth is that Oshkosh does not have the available real estate for category 1 or 2 airshow aircraft.
    The military aircraft at Oshkosh get to do whatever they want with no consequences.

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