AirShow San Diego Takes Flight Saturday and Sunday at Gillespie Field

World War II aircraft, paratroopers, mock aerial “dogfights” complete with fireworks, performance flying demonstrations — even an airplane racing a jet-car — will fill the skies and tarmac Saturday and Sunday at “AirShow San Diego” at Gillespie Field in El Cajon.

The air show, formerly known as “Wings Over Gillespie,” has been put on annually at the County airport for nearly two decades by Air Group 1, the San Diego Chapter of the “Commemorative Air Force.” This year’s airshow will honor the 70th anniversary of “D-Day,” the 1945 Allied invasion at Normandy in France that freed Europe and helped end WWII.

Gates will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Saturday’s attractions will run through 7 p.m. Parking is free.

Discounted tickets are available online at http://ag1caf.org before the event: $16 a day for adults and $11 a day for children aged 7-14. Multi-day and discounted group packages for active-duty and retired military can also be bought online.

People can buy tickets on the day of the event at the gate or online: $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 7-14, seniors 65 years and older and active-duty military personnel. Kids 6 years old and younger will get in for free, as will all WWII veterans and wounded warriors.

The airshow will feature more than 60 rare aircraft, from a Douglass C-53 “D-Day Doll” that actually dropped paratroopers on Normandy at D-Day, to “Lady Alice,” a WWII-era P-51 Mustang, a Curtiss P-47 Thunderbolt, and to “Wardog,” the North American T6-SNJ Texan flown by perennial airshow favorite and aerobatic pilot John Collver.

This year, Collver and Wardog will race against the “Smoke N’ Thunder” jet car — a 10,000-horsepower automobile powered by a jet airplane turbine that can speed from 0-to-400 mph in nine seconds — at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

But that’s not all. There will also be: live music, a dance contest at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, a female pilot parade, the “Red Eagles” formation flying team, food and beverages, a free “Kids’ Zone,” educational displays, a beer garden and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department ASTREA (Aerial Support to Regional Support Agencies) unit, which provides aerial law enforcement, search and rescue, firefighting and emergency services to the region.

For more information, go to Air Group 1’s website.



Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact