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April 21-22 Vero Beach Air Show is bringing the best: Blue Angels, F-16s, and Memphis Belle

In 2012, an idea popped in local businessman Todd Howder’s head that it had been 18 years since Vero Beach had an airshow and it was time to revive the tradition.

In response, the small airshow of 2013 was developed by a few people who had never imagined that they would be creating an event that would grow in magnitude to rival and exceed other community’s airshows.

Seven months later the same team developed the 2014 Vero Beach Air Show featuring the U.S. Navy’s famed Blue Angels soaring over the skies of Vero Beach.  When the Air Show Schedules announcement was made at the International Council of Airshows in Las Vegas, Nevada that year, no one had ever heard of Vero Beach.

The city’s representatives jokingly told those gathered that Vero Beach was 30 miles east of Yeehaw Junction.  Similarly, in the months leading up to the 2014 Air Show, many in the Vero Beach community were sure that it wasn’t the real Blue Angels coming to our small town … but on that Thursday in May 2014 when the six-ship formation of Blue Angels F-18s flew over the bridges … traffic literally stopped, people got out of their cars, and the Vero Beach Air Show was back in full force.

Many people don’t realize that the Vero Beach Air Show is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports four major charities in the county:  the Exchange Club of Indian River, the Exchange Club of Treasure Coast, the Exchange Club of Vero Beach, which support the prevention of child abuse; and the Veterans Council of Indian River County, which offers support to the more than 14,000 veterans of the county.

The Blue Angels were so impressed with the community that they rated Vero Beach as one of the top two airshows of the year with SunNFun, the second largest airshow in the United States, being the other.  The Blues were scheduled to return in 2016, however No. 6 Jeff Kuss was tragically killed during an airshow practice shortly before the event but the Blues promised to return, a promise they will fulfill on April 18 to April 22.

The Blue Angels No. 7 aircraft will arrive April 18 to provide three incentive flights with Indian River County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Rendell being the Key Influencer selection of the local community.  The real noise starts on April 19, as the C-130 Fat Albert arrives in Vero Beach with the Blue Angels maintenance team followed shortly by the six-ship of Blue Angels led by Commander Eric Doyle.

As if the performance of the Blue Angels is not enough, the 2018 Vero Beach Air Show also will have the Air Force’s Viper (F-16) Demonstration Team featuring Major John “Rain” Waters with a performance the will water your eyes. Rain also will perform precision formation flying with a vintage World War II aircraft in the world-famous Heritage Flight.

Blue Angels in flight at the 2014 Vero Beach Air Show. (Photo: Joey Calmes/For Luminaries)

The show’s Board of Directors has put together an impressive array of aerobatic performances led by World Champion Rob Holland, Bill Stein and Clemens Kuhlig. The GEICO Skytypers will cover the sky with messages and thrill with precision formation flying.

Other equally exciting aerobatic pilots include the Jet powered Waco “Screaming Sasquatch” of John Klatt.

The static displays include one of the Air Force’s largest aircraft, the C-5, in addition to the C-17 and the workhorse C-130. Topping off the list is the famous World War II B-17, the Movie Memphis Belle, the actual aircraft used in the 1990 movie.

This will be a weekend to remember from the Saturday night Food Fest in Riverside Park, where you can meet all the members of the Blues and performers, to the actual shows on Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22.  For more details, to volunteer, or for sponsorships contact diana@veroairshow.com or go to www.veroairshow.com.

Pictured at the Blue Angels pre-season visit to Vero Beach in December 2017, from left, Blue Angel No. 7 Lt. Andre Webb; Vero Beach Air Show board members Robert Paugh, David Walker, Catherine Caddell, Rob Lucas, Michael Moon, Adie Ward, and Joel Scher; and Blue Angel No. 8 Lt. Dave Steppe. Air Show board members not pictured: Diana Walker, Kim Prado, Martin Zickert and Patrick Graham. (Photo: Joey Calmes/For Luminaries)

 

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