Navy's Blue Angels to headline 2021 Fort Lauderdale Air Show in new Super Hornets
By PHILLIP VALYS | South Florida Sun Sentinel | Published: April 6, 2021
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — Six jet-shaped blurs — the U.S. Navy Blue Angels — will scream and thunder and barrel-roll over Fort Lauderdale beach as headliners of the 2021 Fort Lauderdale Air Show.
If this elite sextet of fighter jets kicks up more velocity, sonic booms and smoke trails than last time, it’s not just your imagination. Since the Blue Angels’ last Fort Lauderdale visit in 2019, the Navy’s legacy Hornets, flown in air shows since 1986, have been replaced by faster, sleeker twin-engine F/A-18 Super Hornets that pack 40 percent more power under the hood, Air Show president Bryan Lilley says.
The squadron is scheduled to pull off a precision formation flight with aircraft wingtips practically touching at two feet apart, followed by inverted rolls, loops and supersonic maneuvers that climb to 1,000 miles per hour, he adds.
The Blue Angels join a partially announced bill of military jet demonstrations, parachute teams, civilian aerobatic acts and formation flight teams. One of them, the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 Viper fighter-jet team, was one of four military squadrons that headlined last November’s pandemic-delayed Air Show.
The rest of the schedule will be packed with two days of fancy flying by the Geico Skytypers, six vintage SNJ-2 WWII era aircraft that pull maneuvers in tandem; the Red Bull Air Force synchronized jump demo; and a Red Bull BO-105C helicopter demo flown by pilot Aaron Fitzgerald, who has performed helicopter stunts for 100 films and TV shows.
There will also be aircraft stunts by Mike Wiskus of Lucas Oil Flats and Kirby Chambliss of Red Bull Edge 540; and the Socom Para-Commandos, a paratrooping group composed of volunteers from every military branch.
As with the 2020 bash, the Air Show’s many COVID-19 upgrades will stick around, for now. The festival is reducing the number of tickets available to each public and VIP area to curb the spread of coronavirus. Tickets must be purchased online; no passes will be sold at the gate. More entrances have been added, as has contactless ticket scanning, portable hand sanitizers and hand-washing stations. Masks are required whenever spectators aren’t seated.
Admission is free. For more information, go to Air.Show.