With their training flights our hometown Nellis men and women in-blue put on an 'airshow' for Las Vegas locals nearly every day of the year. In addition to that, several times a year you'll see military aircraft from around the world in town to participate in aerial combat training called Red Flag, held in the Nellis Range to the north of the valley. It's not even unusual to see the occasional military aircraft coming into McCarran to 'shoot approaches' (a term from my DH and son's pilot-speak), and for the maintenance and upgrade facilities on the west side of the field.
About 30 miles northwest of the valley you'll also find the home of the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft platforms that fly missions around the globe. Those all flown remotely by pilots inside the facilities at Creech AFB in Indian Springs, NV. As you can see, military aviation is a big part of the Las Vegas Valley and surrounding area.
Nellis is also home to the Thunderbirds, the elite USAF precision aerial demonstration team. You may have seen them perform at local Air Shows across the country, and if you haven't, you should...They're Amazing! We have them here during their off season practice and again for their annual Las Vegas Hometown Show. It's their final performance of the season on Veterans Day weekend with Aviation Nation. It's a spectacular demonstration of both modern and historic aircraft, with civilian and military performing and on display. I blogged about it for last year's show that was also celebrating the 60th anniversary of the USAF. You'll find a link on one of those posts for some incredible pictures from last year, and of course this 2007 Aviation Nation Video to give you a glimpse of what took place.
This year's Aviation Nation 2008 takes place on the weekend prior to Veterans Day, Nov 8th & 9th. Admission and parking at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway are free. There is a shuttle from there to the base with a charge of $3 for those 10 years and older, $1 under age 10, and infants and toddlers not requiring a seat are free. Gates open at 9 AM on both Saturday and Sunday. The tentative schedule is found here.
Thanks to all the servicemen and servicewomen for their hard work they put into this show, and of course their year round service to our country. As a tribute to them and all who have served there's more that happens that weekend. Beginning Friday evening November 7th at 5 PM and again on Saturday and Sunday starting at 2 PM, you'll have the Las Vegas Patriot's Party at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. The event will offer a variety of entertainment on the stages of the street mall found under the world's largest, 4 block long TV. Then at 10 AM on Tuesday November 11, 2008 the annual Veterans Day Parade takes place through downtown with entertainment and exhibits afterwards, again along Fremont Street.
This annual event from our friends and neighbors at Nellis AFB is just one of many found here in the Las Vegas Valley. Some others I've written about...Super Run Car Show, Balloonapalooza, San Gennaro Feast, and Pacific Islands Festival are just a very few of the many that are held here. Those combined with the wide variety of choices for recreation, trails, entertainment, and things to see and do, is what makes the Las Vegas Valley an exceptional place to call home.
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