Sunday, November 1, 2009

Atlantic Ciry Air Show Rocks the Beach

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Windows rattled along the boardwalk as the sky came to life with Raptors, Super Hornets and Fighting Falcons, filling the sky over the ocean surf, bringing the thunder to Atlantic City.

The daylong 2009 air show, sponsored by Borgata Casino, delivered on its theme: "Thunder Over the Boardwalk." Aircraft from WWII through the nation's most modern F-22 Raptor roared just over the water in front of an estimated 750,000 spectators.

Traffic moving into Atlantic City continued throughout the event, with cars and buses still streaming to the beach as the airshow was winding down. The heat and crowds was a boon to boardwalk businesses as sales of water skyrocketed. Not only was the beach packed with people of all ages, the ocean had its own flotilla of sky watchers. The famed U.S. Air Force Thunderbird's did their exceptional crowd pleasing precision flying along the beach. All eyes were to the sky, except for a few youngsters busily putting the finishing touches on their sand castle, as the Thunderbirds closed out the show.

The U.S. Air Force also flew their traditional Heritage Flight, which began in 1997 to commemorate their 50th anniversary. The tradition continues, as it began, with the most recent jet fighters flying in close formation with earlier era warcraft, like the P-51 Mustang. At this event the demonstration included an F-16 Fighting Falcon, an A-10 Thunderbolt (often called a wart hog), and two P-51 Mustangs. The Navy had their own Legacy Flight with and FA/18F & F4U Corsair.

In addition to the military presence, there were a number of civilian demonstrations and aerobatic teams on the program. Jim Beasley, a Philadelphia lawyer, is lead pilot for the three WWII Mustang team called the Horsemen, put on an dazzling show as did the Red Eagle Air Sports team.

If you love crowds, and the roaring sounds of freedom flying overhead then mark your calendar for next year at Atlantic City, or plan on attending the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show in Virginia Beach October 17 and 18. The Blue Angels will be featured. As for me, next year I plan to stay overnight to avoid the traffic.

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