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Aviation Nation, NV

Every year, around Veteran's Day weekend, Nellis Air Force Base hosts Aviation Nation. Free to the public, this event is one you won't want to miss! 

Whether you are an airplane enthusiast or not, Aviation Nation is truly a sight to see. The event runs all day on Saturday and Sunday. We recommend arriving by 9am when the buses first start shuttling visitors from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to the event entrance. The Opening Ceremony begins at 10am. Buses stop taking visitors to the event at 1pm. Although security lines can appear long, they move quickly and wait times are minimal. Be prepared to have your bags searched, just as if you were at the airport.  


Prohibited items include weapons and firearms of any type (including toys), RC aircraft and drones, flammable items and fireworks, pets (except service animals), spray paint and silly string, outside food (small snacks are okay), coolers, grills or glass containers, liquid without factory seal intact, walkie-talkies, HAM radios, scanners, alcohol, illegal drugs, marijuana (recreational and medicinal), bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, and excessively large items and bags. 

When the shuttle bus drops you off at the event, you're free to wander around and see the different airplane, military tanks and aerospace displays. Nellis Airmen are available to answer questions and give hands-on demonstrations. You can even walk through and sit in some of the airplanes! You can also find a seat on the bleachers or set up your own chair to watch the airshow, which features airplanes from past and present. The Thunderbirds usually fly early in the afternoon. That's always a highlight for us and the pilots are nice enough to sign autographs after their show. So stick around to the very end, if you want to meet the men and women that fly! 


Aviation Nation is a family-friendly event. Adults and children of all ages and abilities are welcome. The weather can be hit or miss that time of year. Sometimes is still quite warm (70s) and sunny. Other times, it's quite windy, stormy and cold. Watch the forecast and come prepared for whatever the weather holds. Shade is limited, so be sure to bring plenty of sunblock. There are large water-refill tanks throughout the event, so if you want to bring your own Hydroflask or other type of water bottle to fill, it'll save you some money at the concessions. At Aviation Nation, you'll find a wide variety of food choices. Most accept cash or card. Portable restrooms are available throughout the event as well. Walking around all day can be a bit exhausting, especially if you have young kids in tow. Strollers and wagons are recommended, as well as bleacher or camp chairs. Lastly, the airplanes are very loud, so bring ear protection for everyone in your group!

Event gates close at 5pm. Flags at the event gates indicate shuttle bus pick-up zones. Lines can get quite long, especially after the Thunderbirds finish flying. So either hustle to get on the shuttle bus or take your time exploring the last of the displays on your way there. Either way, you'll get a ride on the shuttle.