NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington state opened its gates on June 25th, 2016 for a great open house. Whidbey Island is the home of the US Navy Electronic Attack Wing Pacific and Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10.

Entering the base you soon see row upon row of US Navy Lockheed P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft but given this is an active base they were very strict on the “you can look but don’t take photos” policy for anything outside of the designated open house areas and of course the air displays (yes they checked mine and many other people’s cameras to make sure we followed the rules). I had no problem with any of that as national security comes first and I would rather they allow people on to the base for the day with restrictions, rather than not at all (security in general was tight on what you could bring in with you and armed personnel were all about)!

US Navy P-3C Orion of Patrol Squadron 46 (VP-46) Grey Knights at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
US Navy P-3C Orion of Patrol Squadron 46 (VP-46) Grey Knights at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016

The main open house area had representatives from each squadron based at Whidbey Island (they had lots of squadron t-shirts, coins, patches, posters etc. for sale) and of course the main attractions included aircraft that are currently based there: Boeing E/A-18G Growler, Lockheed P-3C Orion, Lockheed EP-3E AIRES II (Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System) signals intelligence (SIGINT)/electronic reconnaissance aircraft and the Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue helicopter. In the public display area these were joined by a soon to be new tenant and replacement for the P-3C Orion at Whidbey Island, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. It was very interesting seeing the P-3C and P-8A side by side and also touring the cockpits and workstations within the aircraft (more on that in my next post).

US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack fighter from Electronic Attack Squadron 139 (VAQ-139) Cougars at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack fighter from Electronic Attack Squadron 139 (VAQ-139) Cougars at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016 fitted with external AN/ALQ-99 electronic warfare systems pods fitted to weapons pylons and the wing tip AN/ALQ-218 detection pods
E/A-18G Growler head on NAS Whidbey Island 2016
E/A-18G Growler head on
US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack fighter from Electronic Attack Squadron 139 (VAQ-139) Cougars at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack fighter from Electronic Attack Squadron 139 (VAQ-139) Cougars at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
US Navy Lockheed EP-3E AIRES (Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System) of VQ-1 World Watchers NAS Whidbey Island
US Navy Lockheed EP-3E AIRES II (Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System) of VQ-1 World Watchers
US Navy Lockheed EP-3E AIRES (Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System) NAS Whidbey VQ-1 World Watchers
US Navy Lockheed EP-3E AIRES II (Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System) of VQ-1 World Watchers
US Navy Lockheed EP-3E AIRES (Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System) of VQ-1 World Watchers NAS Whidbey Island
Head on with an EP-3E AIRES II electronic recon aircraft
US Navy Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue helicopter NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
US Navy Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue helicopter
US Navy P-3C Orion and P-8A Poseidon NAS Whidbey Island
US Navy P-3C Orion and P-8A Poseidon
US Navy P-3C Orion of Patrol Squadron 46 (VP-46) Grey Knights NAS Whidbey Island
US Navy P-3C Orion of Patrol Squadron 46 (VP-46) Grey Knights
US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon NAS Whidbey Island
US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon

Flying displays included a flag flyby and later a Search And Rescue (SAR) demonstration by a MH-60S Knighthawk. Later a four ship group of E/A-18 Growler aircraft conducted some formation flying and touch and go landings to demonstrate the type of flight training conducted at NAS Whidbey Island.

Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk flag flypast to officially open the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk flag flypast to officially open the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue demonstration NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue demonstration
Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue demonstration NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue demonstration
Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue demonstration NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue demonstration
Four ship formation of US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack fighters from Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129) Vikings at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Four ship formation of US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack fighters from Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129) Vikings at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Four ship formation of US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack fighters from Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129) Vikings at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Four ship formation of US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack fighters from Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129) Vikings at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
lead break Four ship formation of US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack fighters from Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129) Vikings at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Lead break
lead break Four ship formation of US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack fighters from Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129) Vikings at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
It was great to see 4 Growlers flying together like this

In addition to the flying there were also weapons displays, K-9 and bomb disposal unit robot demonstrations, plus the Navy Band Northwest were rocking away to keep people entertained throughout the day (they even played some Weezer!). Bus tours were also conducted around the base but I never got the chance to take one. All in all a great day!

Weapons display NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Weapons display
Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) NAS Whidbey Island
Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s)
A US Navy Bomb Disposal Unit robot at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
A US Navy Bomb Disposal Unit robot at the NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Navy Band Northwest NAS Whidbey Island Open House 2016
Navy Band Northwest
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