There’s more to the California International Airshow (CIA) Salinas than meets the eye.
Sure there were dazzling flight displays and interesting aircraft on the flight line during the 2018 show at Salinas Municipal Airport (KSNS) in California.
But unknown to many is that the airshow has become one of the most successful airshows supporting charitable organizations in North America, raising more than $8 million for regional charities.
Starring in the 38th annual airshow were civilian performers, including Chuck Coleman in his Extra 300, Vicky Benzing with her distinctive scarlet Stearman, and airshow newcomer Tony Higa piloting his Pitts S1S.
Warbird fans were rewarded with a duo of P-51 Mustangs and the Commemorative Air Force’s B-17G “Sentimental Journey,” which performed flight demonstrations.
Those wanting a bit more power enjoyed the performances by Jerry Conley in his sinister, all-black de Havilland DH-115 Vampire jet trainer, and Greg Colyer with his T-33 Shooting Star “Ace Maker II.”
Military fly-bys were conducted by a USAF C-130H Hercules from the Kentucky ANG and a USCG C-27J Spartan.
All of the day’s flying, including some ultra-low level flight by monster trucks, led up to the headliner appearance by the US Air Force Thunderbirds. For this show the T-birds were operating from nearby Monterey Airport, which has a requisite 7,000′ runway.
A few current military aircraft were on display, ranging from the Travis-based C-5M Super Galaxy at one end of the tarmac to the NAS Lemoore VFA-122 F/A-18F Super Hornet at the other end. Two C-130 Hercules transports traveled a long ways to see the West Coast, one from Rhode Island ANG and another from Kentucky ANG. A C-12, the military version of the Super King Air, rounded out the collection.
Several civilian organizations were on hand with static displays, including Cal Fire, which brought one of its OV-10 Bronco spotter aircraft and a Super Huey firefighting helicopter.
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office was represented by a Cessna Skylane from the volunteer Sheriff’s Air Squadron.
California Aeronautical University was present with one of its flight training Cessna 172s next to their booth.
Other than the warbirds that performed, folks could see a replica Nakajima torpedo bomber and a T-6 Texan.
General aviation aircraft on display ranged from a Stearman to a Maule MX-7. A pristine 1959 straight-tailed Cessna 172 and a tidy V-tail Bonanza added to the eclectic mix while a Travel Air 4000 and Aeronca rounded out the GA types.
Airshow fans should take note that the 2019 show will be March 23-24, several months earlier than the 2018 show in late September.