2004 - March Field AirFest (RXSQ)

March Field AirFest 2006

This weekend marks the return of the USAF Thunderbirds to March Air Reserve Base near Riverside. The precision flying team has been making regular stops at the base’s air shows for many years, the last being 2004.

Long-considered one of the West Coast’s biggest air shows, this year’s aviation pageant is expected to draw about 300,000 visitors combined for both days – if the weather is good, according to Maj. Don Traud, AirFest spokesman.

Riverside Press-Enterprise – April 28, 2006

This weekend’s show marks the homecoming of sorts for one of the Thunderbird pilots, Maj. Nicole Malachowski, who spent part of her childhood in Upland. She’s also the first female pilot in the history of the Thunderbirds. Many of her relatives will be at this weekend’s airshow.

“It’s exciting to be back in Southern California,” Malachowski said Thursday after a practicing with the Thunderbirds over March, Riverside, Moreno Valley and Perris. “It’s overwhelming and exhilarating and I’m enjoying this.”

Riverside Press-Enterprise – April 28, 2006

Included in this weekend’s airshow will be flight demonstrations of the Air Force’s primary aircraft, including the F-15E “Strike Eagle,” F-16 “Viper,” C-17 “Globemaster,” C-130 “Hercules,” B-52 “Stratofortress,” KC-135 “Stratotanker,” as well as the F-22 “Raptor,” and F-117 “Stealth Fighter.”

A U.S. Navy F-18 “Hornet” and Russian MiG-21 are also part of the flight demonstrations along with historic Air Force aircraft B-17, B-25, P-38 and P-51. Vietnam War-vintage helicopters, precision parachute teams and stunt pilots help round out the flight demonstration activities. Numerous aircraft will also be on display — and for walk-thrus — along March’s large tarmac.

The airshow is the only such USAF show held in Greater Los Angeles and is usually one of the largest in the country. And due to the proximity to the Thunderbirds’ home base of Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, family members of many of the pilots will be making the trek to March ARB for this weekend’s airshow.

The March Field AirFest is Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30, from 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., with the Thunderbirds performing at 3:15 p.m. both days. Admission is free.

Photo Gallery: AirFest 2004


  • March Field – SoCal Air Show
  • March Field Air Museum
  • Riverside Press-Enterprise -Air show will feature Thunderbirds, parachute team, warbird demonstration (April 28) | Flying home: Air Force Thunderbird pilot grew up in the Inland area (April 28) | Restored helicopters to fly air-show missions (April 29)

Sources: Riverside Press-Enterprise (PE-20060428, PE-20060429), March Field AirFest

2024 PAGE UPDATE: Added additional newspaper citation/insert; added additional photos; updated March Field AirFest link to new SoCal Air Show link; removed outdated links to newspaper articles.

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