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Ocean City

Taking flight

(June 7, 2013) The sixth annual Ocean City Air Show takes flight Saturday and Sunday with an all-civilian, all-star lineup of performers. Because of federal budget cuts, no U.S. military aircraft will be flown at the air show (or any other show in the country) this year. When the federal government’s sequester grounded armed forces flight teams, a number of the military acts that had performed during the show the last few years, could no longer attend, including scheduled headliner the Blue Angels. But the show must, and will, go on.

“There are other acts that will thrill and excite those who come to Ocean City to watch the show,” said Cathy Bassett, spokeswoman for B. Lilley LLC Productions, the company producing the show. “Brian Lilley has opted to go forward with the show and put on the best civilian show possible. It’s the only air show in Maryland this year.”

The show is centered on the beach at 16th Street, where there are premium viewing areas set up for a fee, though the performances may be viewed from the beach and along the Boardwalk for free.

The 2013 OC Air Show will feature aircraft demonstrations, low altitude flyovers, parachute team jumps and civilian aerobatic performances by some of the nation’s top civilian pilots over the beach from 1-4 p.m. both days.

The only civilian-owned Harrier jet in the world, flown by Art Nalls, a former Marine test pilot and U.S. Naval Academy graduate, will be put through its paces before the crowd. The Sea Harrier is known for vertical takeoffs and landings and can fly more than 600 miles per hour.

The Harrier will headline the lineup that includes pilot Chuck Aaron and the Red Bull helicopter. Aaron is the only civilian pilot in the country licensed to fly helicopter aerobatics.

The show will also feature aerobatic pilot Mike Wiskus in the Lucas Oil Pitts and the Lucas Oil jump team, Raiders Flight Team, L-39 jet, P-51 Mustang, Air Force Heritage flight, GEICO Skytypers, John Klatt in the ANG MXS and Ocean City resident Sean Carroll flying the Yak-9.

The OC Air Show is one of Carroll’s favorite events because of the beach location. He said the resort town is the “perfect venue.”

“I’m very excited for the reason that we’ve got some very cool people coming this year,” Carroll said. That would include Nalls, who Carroll calls his mentor.

“Every now and then we get the chance to fly together,” he said.

Carroll, who has been flying the Yak-9 for about 15 years, said he will be maneuvering his vintage World War II plane between 15 and 6,000 feet above the water, reaching speeds of up to 450 miles per hour.

“I’m going to maneuver it hard and fast. I’ll be pulling 9 Gs,” he said.

After his performance, Carroll said he will stop by the show center to meet fans and sign autographs.

“The crowd will be pleased with [the lineup of performers] this year,” Carroll said. “It’s a heck of a lineup.”

The GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team consists of six of the 11 remaining North American vintage World War II SNJ-2’s that demonstrate low-level precision flying.

The team also “types” messages with puffs of smoke in dot matrix-style letters at an altitude of 10,000 feet. On a clear day, the messages can be seen up to 15 miles in any direction and can be as long as eight miles. The GEICO Skytypers are the only flying unit in the world that performs at air shows typing their messages in the sky.

During the 18-minute performance, the GEICO Skytypers will fly between 300 and 1,000 above the water, said Steve Kapur, the No. 8 pilot.

Kapur said four planes will fly in diamond formation with two opposing solos during the show. All six planes will come together to wrap up the performance, he said.

“We’re very excited to be coming to town,” said Kapur, who has been with the team since 1995. His job during the show is to back up the No. 1 plane. “It’s a great opportunity to show off the aircrafts. We feel particularly grateful to GEICO for allowing us to show these planes off.”

Fans will have an opportunity to meet some of the pilots at the GEICO tent near the show center as well as at evening gatherings.

The weekend will also include a number of beach parties, happy hours and other festivities at local businesses, where the public can meet the performers.

“A lot of the performers come to the events and parties in the evenings. They like to interact with the public,” Bassett said.

Since the air show’s inception, visitors have flocked to Ocean City to witness the extreme flying spectacle. According to the city’s Demoflush statistics, which estimate population based on wastewater usage, there were 267,564 people in town during the 2012 event. With the air show, the OC Car Show and three sports tournaments taking place at the same time last year, Ocean City had little room to spare.

“The OC Air Show has become a favorite amongst residents and visitors in Ocean City. There is nothing like sitting on the beach or Boardwalk with your family and friends and having the entertainment of some of the nation’s top air show performers in the sky above,” said Jessica Waters, Town of Ocean City communications manager.

“With a mix of aerobatic performers, flight teams and jump teams, the air show promises to be three hours of entertainment … and did I mention it’s free?”

“If you have never been to an OC Air Show I encourage you to pack a big beach blanket and take your family to see the show because you definitely won’t be disappointed,” she said.

General viewing from the beach and Boardwalk is free. Tickets for premium viewing at the “Show Center” on 16th Street and the beach cost $19.95. Two-day passes for $29.95 are also offered.

VIP hospitality in the “Clubhouse Chalet” are still available for both days. The cost for a one-day pass is $119, or $199 for two days. VIP penthouse tickets cost $229 for one day, or $359 for a two-day pass. Both include parking, food and beverage, among other amenities.

The Display Village will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Vendors will be on the Boardwalk and side streets between 15th and 17th streets and well as in the inlet parking lot.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ocairshow.com or call 877-722-2927. Tickets can also be purchased at the show center.

Air Show Schedule

Friday, June 7

8 a.m. Breakfast with the performers, Layton’s Family Restaurant, 16th Street.

1 p.m. OC Air Show Preview, show center between 15th and 16th Streets.

7 p.m. Coors Take Off Party, open to the public, Hooper’s Crabhouse, Lucas Oil Parachute Jump Team.

Saturday, June 8

8 a.m. Breakfast with the performers, Layton’s Family Restaurant, 16th Street.

9 a.m. Display village opens, 15th, 16th, 17th Streets and inlet parking lot.

10 a.m. Drop zone and show center beach open, show center beach, 14th to 17th Streets.

1 p.m. OC Air Show, show center at 16th Street.

4 p.m. Air show happy hour, open to the public, Surfin’ Betty’s pool bar, 16th Street.

Sunday, June 9

8 a.m. Breakfast with the performers, Layton’s Family Restaurant, 16th Street.

9 a.m. Display village opens, 15th, 16th, 17th Streets and inlet parking lot.

10 a.m. Drop zone and show center beach open, show center beach, 14th to 17th Streets.

1 p.m. OC Air Show, show center at 16th Street

4 p.m. Air show happy hour, open to the public, Surfin’ Betty’s pool bar, 16th Street.

7 p.m. Air Show Afterburner Party, open to the public, Captain’s Table Restaurant, Courtyard Marriott 15th Street

Spectator watch the 2012 OC Air Show from the beach.

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