Vintage aircraft, Harrier to star in today's Atlantic City Airshow
A host of vintage aircraft and one modern fighter jet will take to the skies today in the first Atlantic City Airshow without a single military act.
Organizers searched farther than ever to find enough acts to round out a lineup that took a hit, along with the rest of the country's airshows, when federal budget cuts grounded nonessential military flying.
Greater Atlantic City Chamber President Joe Kelly has said that while the situation was challenging, organizers were determined to not cancel the 11th annual show and instead provide a new experience for spectators on Atlantic City's beaches and Boardwalk.
Today spectators will see a show laden with vintage planes such as the six World War II T-6 Texans used by the Geico Skytypers, who will serve as the show's finale. New to the lineup are the Firebirds Xtreme Aerobatic Team and the 4CE, a formation aerobatic team kicking off the show.
Retired marine Art Nalls was the last addition to the lineup. He will fly the only operable privately owned Sea Harrier in the world. The jet will reach speeds of 600 knots and perform its signature hovering manuver over the ocean.
In past years, organizers have stated crowd size expectations well before the show, with 2012 predications for the Friday show as high as 1 million. This year, however, officials have shied away from early estimates. The show now going on without a military jet team returns to a Wednesday and will be the first held in June before the heart of the summer season.
The Chamber has limited VIP seating on the beach to corporate sponsors only in an effort to push more people toward the Boardwalk, where they'll hopefully be enticed to make more purchases.
While today's show will be the first to take place in June, temperatures are expected to rival those of August airshows with highs in Atlantic City in the upper 80s. Temperatures on the mainland, measured at the Atlantic City International Airport, are expected to reach 90 for the third consecutive day, marking the first official heat wave of the year.
The National Weather Service has predicted a 30 percent chance of rain with scattered showers and thunderstorms possible after noon. The airshow has never been rained out in prevoius years, but rain has been seen on practice days.
Airshow boss David Schultz said his team will be monitoring weather patterns.
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2013 Atlantic City Airshow schedule
11:35 a.m. -- Blue Cross Blimp Flyby
11:45 a.m. -- Tow Banner Aircraft Flybys
Noon -- National Anthem with flyover by 4CE
12:03 p.m. -- 4CE Aerobatic Team (3-ship)
12:15 p.m. -- Jim Beasley Jr. Spitfire Demo
12:25 p.m. -- Warrior Aviation L-39 Solo
12:32 p.m. -- Warrior Aviation YAK-9 Solo
12:38 p.m. -- Warrior Aviation Formation Flights
12:45 p.m. -- Raider Demo Team (3-ship)
12:55 p.m. -- News Chopper 10 Flyby
12:56 p.m. -- Atlantic Evac Medical Helicopter Flyby
12:58 p.m. -- PPG Dan McClung Pitts Aerobatics
1:10 p.m. -- Andrew McKenna AT-6 Demo
1:23 p.m. -- Firebirds Xtreme Aerobatic Team
1:40 p.m. -- Jim Beasley Jr. P-51 Mustang Demo
1:50 p.m. -- USAF Heritage Flight (P-51s)
2 p.m. -- Matt Chapman CAP580 Aerobatics
2:14 p.m. -- Raiders Aerobatic Team
2:30 p.m. -- Rob Holland MX2 Aerobatics
2:45 p.m. -- Nalls Aviation Sea Harrier Demonstration
2:20 p.m. -- Bill Stein Extra 330 Aerobatics
2:32 p.m. – Nalls Aviation Sea Harrier
3 p.m. -- Geico Skytypers (6-ship)
3:30 p.m. -- Airshow Ends