Military jet teams seem to be the biggest draw for an air show yet they were absent from this year’s Florida International Air Show at the Punta Gorda Airport last weekend. But ya know what? The show was pretty darn spectacular.
Sequester? The Show Goes On
I’ve been told due to the federal government sequester more than a dozen air shows for 2013 have been cancelled, primarily because they were scheduled to take place on military bases and are deemed nonessential even though they’re great tools to promote STEM to students. But don’t get me started on that…
Most air shows not held on military bases will probably carry on without military teams. Having just concluded its 33rd show, the FIAS takes place at the Punta Gorda Airport so the show went on.
Air show planners must have had foresight because the only military jet scheduled to perform this year was an F-22 and was cancelled because of the sequester. Other than that, the show went on with amazing aerobatics, including that of AeroShell Aerobatics Team in their North American AT-6 Texans and wing walker Jane Wicker, as I blogged about prior to the show. Do you see her in the photo at the top of this post? Amazing and believe me, I was sitting on the edge of my chair, holding my breath watching her.
Mother Nature was in full windy force causing some modification both days and the U.S. Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team couldn’t jump either day. Wicker had to modify her performance because she was being tossed like a rag doll the first day.
In addition to a lineup of aerobatic performances, there were several planes on display including one which appeared in the movie “Amelia” and will be in the upcoming movie “42” starring Chadwcik Boseman, Alan Tudyk and Harrison Ford.
Despite the sequester, there were three active military aircraft on display, two Harrier Jump Jets and a C-130 cargo plane. They were on a refueling mission in the Gulf of Mexico and had the OK to stopover at the air show. Plus, some of the crew have ties to Charlotte County.
Stamp of Approval
One of the neatest things over the weekend, other than seeing the sun rise each day, was meeting the gentleman in the above photo who created official commemorative souvenir envelopes and postmark for the Florida International Air Show. (I’ll get his name and add it down the road.)
List of Performers
- AeroShell Aerobatic Team
- Wing Walker Jane Wicker
- The Twin Tiger Team & the Ringmasters
- Elgin Wells & Starjammer His plane lights up, plays music and dances!
- The Iron Eagle Aerobatic Team
- AERO L-39 ALBATROS
- Jerry McCart and his Wicked Willy Jet Funny Car (At 300mph, dang that car is fast!)
Contest for Aviation Photographers
A feature FIAS added last year was the Hobby Photographer Admission which allowed access into the show grounds prior to the general public and front row seating in a tent. Aviation really isn’t my thing but I can appreciate interest in the craft.
Coincidentally, Air & Space magazine is holding it’s first photo contest for those 18 years or older. Categories are: Military, Civilian, People and Planes: Portraits, and Spacecraft. The contest is open until Sept. 15, 2013 and you can find additional information on the Air & Space magazine website.
2014 Florida International Air Show
It’s never too soon to begin planning your visit to the 2014 Florida International Air Show. Be sure to add March 29 & 30 to your calendar. For additional information about the air show, visit their site, www.floridaairshow.com.