Top son

A few weeks ago, I got an email saying that as a member of the media, I might be able to fly in a plane in advance of the California Capital Airshow. I never replied, partially because I’m a huge chicken. Also, because nothing says “wasteful government spending” to me better than a $412-million F-22 Raptor flying around in circles, guzzling thousands of gallons of fuel. OK, so if that’s how I really feel about combat planes, then why am I still previewing the event? Maybe because Top Gun was one of my favorite guilty pleasures as a kid? Maybe because I wouldn’t even be here if my dad didn’t join the Air Force and meet my mom while he was stationed in Taiwan?

However anyone feels about expensive war machines, there’s no denying the marvels of engineering (and physics, and world-class piloting) that will be on display at the California Capital Airshow this weekend. Happening at Mather Airport (10425 Norden Avenue) on Saturday, September 6, and Sunday, September 7, the show features “aerobatic performances,” vintage aircraft, interactive displays, videos, a photo gallery, a BMX bike team and a kids’ zone. Airshow performance highlights include a parachute demonstration, a flight demo from the aforementioned F-22 Raptor, and the colorful and daring Patriots Jet Team.

Single-day tickets cost $7.50 for kids and $15 for adults online, $20 at the gate, and $30 for a shaded seat. Gates are open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with shows from noon to 3:30 p.m. each day. If you, like Maverick and Goose, “feel the need for speed,” then fly over to for more information.

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