2023 California Capital Airshow – A Recap

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…  OK, it is a plane. Lots of planes! Mather Airport was once again the venue for the California Capital Airshow that took place September 23-24. Although the wildlife of Mather Field’s Vernal Pool Preserve probably didn’t appreciate the incredible noise from the aircraft, the decibel levels certainly didn’t deter the crowds of people who gathered beside and behind the Splash Center to watch the festivities.

After the planes take off in front of the crowd at the airport, they circle around for another pass by the airport. As they’re circling around, the aircraft literally pass right over the Splash Center, which is only half a mile from the runways at the airport!

Some of this year’s highlights included the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, a team of 6 precision-flying F-16 fighter jets, flying in formation terrifyingly close to each other at top speed! The U.S. Navy’s F/A-18F Super Hornet showed off its unbelievable horsepower and maneuverability in an awesome demonstration of this workhorse, carrier-based fighter. Fortunately, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, aka “The Warthog,” didn’t demonstrate its intimidating weaponry, only its raw power and agility!

Other highlights included some HUGE military cargo/transport planes that defy gravity and appear as though they’re floating in the air! Of course, there were plenty of planes from the WWII era, including the iconic, double-fuselage P-38 Lightning, as well as a trio of WWII fighter aircraft including the P-47 Thunderbolt, the P-40 Warhawk, and the incredible P-51 Mustang!

Although there was a large crowd around the Splash Center each day of the airshow, nearly everybody was very respectful and tidy. Splash wishes to thank our local law enforcement agencies for their presence near the Splash Center, keeping everything under control and helping to protect the nearby vernal pool grassland habitat from being trampled. The Splash Center wasn’t open either day of the show; however, Splash staff were on hand to monitor activities and check on the animals in Critterville!

Now that the airshow is over, the wildlife in the vernal pool grasslands can resume their normal routines and the Preserve will once again be a place of quiet, undisturbed peacefulness.