By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(June 13, 2019) The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will headline the 12th annual Ocean City Air Show, which showcases a number of military aircrafts performing acrobatic displays over the beach downtown, Saturday and Sunday.
Although the show does not officially begin until Saturday, events kick off Friday with a Jack Daniels Take Off Party at Sunset Grille in West Ocean City, at 7 p.m. It is free to attend and open to the public. It will feature musical entertainment and a chance to meet pilots, jumpers and flight crews.
“Air shows are inherently patriotic as a whole,” said Chris Dirato, director of public relations for the OC Air Show. “This is a rare opportunity for the fans to see a really terrific demonstration.”
The display village lining the Boardwalk from 15th to 20th streets will open at 9 a.m. for guests to visit various information booths and talk to military recruiters about the Blue Angels and other performances.
Weather permitting, the air show will officially start at noon with the Blue Angels taking to the sky at around 3:15 p.m. for a 30- to 40-minute performance.
Spectators can watch as the eight-pilot team, celebrating 65 years as the Air Force’s Ambassadors in Blue, performs precise aerial maneuvers and formation flying.
“You can’t ask for a better backdrop than Ocean City beach and the Boardwalk,” Dirato said. “Seeing an air show at a beach setting is something to behold versus an airport setting. I think it’s a great opportunity for families to congregate and enjoy themselves as a group and also wave the American flag a little bit.
“It becomes an educational awareness thing for parents and their kids to tell them what it’s like, them what the military planes are doing for us to protect our freedom,” he continued. “Just seeing the skills of these pilots is amazing in itself.”
This year’s show will also feature several military performers.
The show will include two A-10 Warthog Thunderbolts from the 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard. They are scheduled to do flyovers on both show days.
The A-10 Warthog, or Thunderbolt II, is a single-seat, low, straight-wing aircraft. The design of the wing allows short takeoffs and landings from primitive airfields. Because of this, the A-10 can operate nearly anywhere and provide ground troops with close air support.
There will also be an appearance by the C-5M Super Galaxy from the 436th Airlift Wing based at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The C-5M will fly on Saturday only.
The C-5M Super Galaxy is the largest transport aircraft in the U.S. military and one of the largest in the world. The C-5M is a modernized version of the legacy C-5 and is operated by the U.S. Air Force. There are 52 C-5Ms in the fleet that are stationed at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware; Travis AFB, California; Lackland AFB, Texas, and Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts.
The U.S. Coast Guard out of Atlantic City, New Jersey, will also perform a search and rescue demonstration, which will spotlight how the Coast Guard performs an out-the-door water rescue of a person in distress from an HH-65 Daphine helicopter hovering overhead.
The U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper Demo Team will also be performing. The team’s F-16CM Fighting Falcon, known as the “Viper,” is a single-seat, multi-role fighter with the ability to switch between an air-to-ground and an air-to-air role at the touch of a button.
The F-16 Viper Demo Team recently announced a new commander/demo pilot – Major Garret “Toro” Schmitz. From Price, Utah, Schmitz is a combat proven fighter pilot with over 340 combat hours in the F-16.
In addition, the Panchito B-25 Bomber Flight will perform this year. Last year, the plane was unable to perform because of technical difficulties.
The Air Show continues Sunday at noon with more performances by the Blue Angels, Super Galaxy, Coast Guard and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, among others.
Depending on the weather, hundreds of thousands of people watch the Ocean City Air Show from the Boardwalk, hotels, on the beach or on a boat in the ocean and bay each year.
“The OC Air Show keeps getting bigger and better thanks to the support of the Town of Ocean City and the hundreds of thousands of spectators who come out to make it a success, some from as far away as New York, Ohio and the Carolinas,” Bryan Lilley, president of the OC Air Show stated in a press release.
Tickets for VIP Skybox on Saturday are sold out, but as of earlier this week special packages were still available for the Air Show. They do sell out every year.
Tickets start at $22 for “Drop Zone” seating, and $169 for both Saturday and Sunday for a Flight Line Clubhouse ticket. There are also tickets available in the VIP Skybox and Penthouse areas on Sunday.
Visit www.ocairshow.com to purchase a show package. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/ocairshow/.