Blue Angels to Headline 2012 Florida International Air Show in Punta Gorda, March 24 – 25

U.S. Navy Blue Angels Last Performed at the Florida International Air Show in 2009
U.S. Navy Blue Angels Last Performed at the Florida International Air Show in 2009

U.S. Navy Blue Angels will soar through Southwest Florida skies March 24 – 25 when the 2012 Florida International Air Showreturns for the 32nd year at the Punta Gorda Airport. The six-pilot squadron will close out each day of the air show with their precision formations and high-speed maneuvers in F/A-18 Hornet jets at speeds up to 700 mph.

Jet Teams and Aerobatic Performers
“In the 24 years that I’ve been here with the Florida International Air Show, this air show make up is by far the largest show schedule that I have ever got into,” said Bob Hall, air boss for FIAS, during last Friday’s press conference in Punta Gorda.

Flying begins each day at 10 a.m. running through 4 p.m. Opening ceremonies will begin around 11 a.m. In addition to the Blue Angels, air show attendees will be dazzled with aerobatics by two other air show teams. The Black Diamond Jet Team, formerly called the Heavy Metal Jet Team, is a seven-jet civilian team with two Mig-17s and five L-39s. With 12 experimental kitplanes, Team RV is the world’s largest air show team.

Pilot Matt Younkin, known for his graceful aerobatic precision, will fly in a Twin Beech 18 and Gary Ward will perform maneuvers in a MX2. The Grumman F8F Bearcat, a single-engine naval fighter of the 1940s, will also make an appearance. On the ground see the Wicked Willy Jet Funny Car and its GE J-85, a small single-shaft turbojet engine, commonly used on F-5 and T-3 fighters.

Florida International Air Show Visitors Can Get Up Close with Historic Aircraft
Florida International Air Show Visitors Can Get Up Close with Historic Aircraft

Displays and Historic Aircraft
When eyes are not turned to the sky, visitors can get up close with a variety of aircraft including a WWII B-29 FIFI which is a heavy bomber and only one of its kind in the world still flying. The world’s last flying SB2C Helldiver, a rare WWII Dive Bomber made for the U.S. Navy, will also be on display.

The WC-130 Hercules Hurricane Hunter, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, Berlin Airlift Museum, American Flight Museum will also be on exhibit as well as other aircraft, military branches, government agencies and non-profit organizations.

A boy salutes a U.S. Navy Blue Angel Pilot during the 2009 Florida International Air Show.
A boy salutes a U.S. Navy Blue Angels Pilot during the 2009 Florida International Air Show.

Planning a Visit to the Florida International Air Show
Previous air show visitors will notice a change. All events will take place at the north side of the Punta Gorda Airport rather than the south side. Primary parking is located on Airport Road across from the Charlotte County Jail and a shuttle system with buses, golf carts and trams will transport visitors to the air show. A parking fee of $5 per vehicle will be collected by Punta Gorda Kiwanis.

Directional signs will guide air show visitors to parking areas. When traveling from the south on I-75 to the Florida International Air Show (from Fort Myers), use Exit 161 (Jones Loop Road) then follow Piper Road toward the Punta Gorda Airport. Traveling from the North (from Sarasota or Tampa), use exit 164 (Duncan Road/U.S. 17) then follow Golf Course Boulevard toward the airport. When visiting from Punta Gorda, use Airport Road.

Event officials recommend bringing ear protection for young children. Sunscreen and chairs are highly recommended for everyone.

Punta Gorda is Ready to Welcome the U.S. Navy Blue Angels
Punta Gorda is Ready to Welcome the U.S. Navy Blue Angels

Buy Your Tickets Online and Save!
Florida International Air Show admission is $25 for adults and $5 for children 12 years and younger. Adults can save $5 off admission when purchased online by March 23, 2012. Upgraded seating and other options are also available. Visit www.floridaairshow.com for additional information. The Punta Gorda Airport is located at 28000 Airport Road in Punta Gorda.

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Jenn

Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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