We could not resist heading out to join the crowd on Ft Lauderdale beach to watch the air show this weekend. While some locals said that it ‘used to be much better’ with aircraft carriers, bombers, and lots more military craft breaking the sound barrier and getting closer to the crowds, as first time spectators, we enjoyed the show a lot.
The crowds were huge, and we expected that paid seats may have been hard to come by, but we read some local tips about parking in the nearby shopping center and taking one of the many golf cart rides out to the beach (support the locals charging 5$ for these lifts too). While the beach was packed, we had our folding chairs and managed to make our way out to a good spot almost right by the water. Love those chairs. We are really starting to feel like locals here… carrying a little cooler of drinks and snacks with our folding chairs.
We were also amazed by the wall of boats that had formed like an arc around the beach a few miles out. Solid yachts from North to South, all lined up with the Coast Guard patrolling down the middle to keep people out of the ‘hot zone’ where the planes would fly.
With a cloudless sky and little wind to speak of, it was a perfect day for the show. The lineup included F-16 and F/A 18F Super Hornet fighter jets that screamed by, with the sound catching up to them a few seconds later. It was surreal as the plane approached silently, and you’d swear that the sound was actually ½ mile behind where the plane was. The maneuverability of these jets was simply amazing to watch. I can’t imagine the G-Force those pilots were enduring in the cockpit.
One of our favorites was Mike Wiskus in his Lucas Oil Pitts plane. Literally climbing straight up, stalling and circling down and roaring out just above the waves, he put on an amazing show.
Similarly Sean Tucker with his Oracle bi-plane pulled many of the same kinds of stunts basically simulating being out of control while being very much in control. Upside down, sideways, and you name it, he was all over the sky.
The Coast Guard did a simulated rescue using one of their choppers and dropping rescuers into the sea and hauling them back up. Para-Commandos dropped from the sky in parachutes coming onto the beach and more.
Our favorite, ok maybe we’re biased a little, was the Canadian Armed Forces Snowbirds. These nine planes flying in perfect formation at 800 MPH and only 3-4 feet apart, was simply amazing. The group did maneuvers in sync, tilting from side to side, and doing a loop-the-loop all while in perfect formation. Just amazing!They would then come towards the beach, and split off in different directions making a flower with their smoke plumes later joining back into formation. Just spectacular!
The group made a heart in the sky dedicated to the US and Canadian military near the end of the show.
Check it out in our video