There will be thrills, chills, but no spills at Ocean City’s Air Show Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16.
The event will include a display of custom and vintage aircraft at Ocean City Airport; aerial aerobatics over the beach and boardwalk; a dazzling parachute pyrotechnic show; and loads of family-friendly activities including a bubblicious fundraiser for the Ocean City Historical Museum, dubbed Bubble Mania, hosted by the Ocean City Board of Realtors.
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Among the performers this weekend will be veteran stunt pilot Kevin Russo of Kevin Russo Airshows, based in North Branch, New Jersey. Russo, who has logged more than 23,000 miles in military and commercial air service, will fly with a three-man team performing mid-air, close-formation maneuvers like loop-de-loops, barrel rolls and figure eights. The team flies T6 Texan Warbirds, which once were used to train World War II fighter pilots. The planes manufactured for dogfights will soar within four feet from wingtip to wingtip, said Russo. “It’s pretty exciting to see them in the air, and people love it.”
Cincinnati-based Redline Airshows will return to Ocean City for the fifth year, with a new fleet of RV8 homemade aircraft—yep, real flying machines made from a kit. The planes take several years and some 14,000 rivets to assemble, said pilot Ken Reider.
Flying at about 230 mph at top speed, Reider and his partner Jon Thocker “will be pulling about 6 Gs positive and 2.5 Gs negative during the show.” In laymen’s terms, that’s one hair-rising ride—again, performed in close formation, for edge-of-your-seat excitement.
“We roll upside down, go straight up and then down, and pull out and 400 feet. It’s about exploring the edges of how far that turn or roll can go. There are not many people who can do it,” fewer than several hundred in the world, said Reider.
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Also appearing will be championship pilot David Windmiller; the barnstorming team from Paul Dougherty Airshows; and the high-flying parachutists of Team Fastrax, who will exit an airplane at 6,000 feet over the beach and boardwalk, then execute pyrotechnic feats at altitude before landing on the Seventh St. beach.
The airport festival and Bubblemania will take place Saturday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the municipal airport, 2600 Bay Ave. Fastrax will perform Saturday evening at 8 p.m. The daredevil pilots will perform starting at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16.
Asked to explain the enduring appeal of aviation and air shows, Reider said, “Maybe some of the mystery has been lost because of modern-day travel, but for most people, there’s still a kind of magic to flying, a sense of wonder about how these things flew in the first place. It’s an amazing spectacle.”
The Ocean City Air Show Weekend is free.