Our third tour to the USA in 2017 started on Friday 10 November 2017. The tour was specifically aimed at visiting the NAF El Centro photocall. As soon as it was announced that this would take place on Thursday 16 November it was an easy decision to include a visit to Aviation Nation 2017 at Nellis AFB in the itinerary. Having asked for a small number of ‘places’ for the photocall only we ended up flying Delta to Las Vegas (via Minneapolis) with only 3 people, meeting the other 2 participants after our arrival in Las Vegas.
Saturday 11 November was the first day of Aviation Nation. We made sure that we would arrive at the parking lots at the Las Vegas Speedway before the masses would show up. We certainly managed to do just that and were among the first people on base. The weather was fine but the static was a bit disappointing. Considering the 70th Anniversary of the USAF was celebrated during the event, one would expect a more comprehensive static. A static including a lot more aircraft. Interesting items during the flying display was the Texas Flying Legends formation (with their B-25J leading the pack) and the USAF Heritage Flight (consisting of a P-51, F-22 and two A-10s). Stars of the show was the USAF Warfighter Demo. This demo included a simulated attack by Aggressor F-16s, followed by an interception of these by F-15s. A demo of a CSAR operation saw A-10s and F-35s providing close air support. All in all a very impressive display! Getting off base took some time, but we were able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Las Vegas strip in the evening anyway.