By Bill Stansbeary,
The Ft. Lauderdale Air & Sea Show is now one of the world’s largest spectator events, with a two-day extravaganza May 6-7 in Southern Florida. The world-class event was part of the “National Salute to America’s Heroes” and a kickoff for the National Military Appreciation Month observed each May.
Millions of people watched the air and sea show, along four miles of Ft. Lauderdale beaches, observing top military and civilian performances. This included the United States Navy Blue Angels and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds jet demonstration teams. Among other favorites were the U.S. Army Golden Knights elite parachute demonstration team, U.S. Coast Guard Rescue demonstration, and the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps “Invasion of Beach” joint forces military exercise.
The public had a unique chance to see the new USMC V-22 Osprey, an advanced aircraft for the future of Marine Corps aviation. More flight demonstrations and flybys included the Air Force B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber and F-15E Strike Eagle, Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier, and the F-22 Raptor and F-16 flying in Heritage Flight formation with a TF-51 Mustang.
Civilian air acts included Team Oracle’s Sean Tucker in his modified Pitts aerobatic airplane and Fred Cabanas’ aerobatics act. American Airlines presented a flyby with a Douglas DC-3 and Boeing 767. Other highlights included the Van Wagner Aerial Media Salute to Old Glory, the Red Baron Pizza Squadron, an Air Force Reserve Above and Beyond Aerobatic Show with Ed Hamill, and appearances by the Goodyear Blimp, David Martin (presented by Breitling) and Mary Dilda, flying her T-6, “Two of Hearts.”
“Since 1995, this show has been a patriotic, family-oriented signature event that has put South Florida and our beautiful beaches in a national and international spotlight,” said Elaine Fitzgerald, spokeswoman. “We hope that everyone enjoyed the event again this year, and will continue to show support for the men and women of our military who have dedicated themselves to protecting our freedom.”