GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., April 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- After a five year hiatus, the return of the Lauderdale Air Show kicked off with a spectacular sunset landing of a member of the 101st Airborne Division's elite parachute demonstration team on the fifth floor courtyard of W Fort Lauderdale, the headquarter hotel for the event. In spite of the breeze, Sergeant Matthew Thode jumped from a plane at 10,000 feet and displayed pyrotechnics as he wove down between the two towers of the W Fort Lauderdale, and landed on his target in front of a throng of onlookers.
Known as "America's Air Show," the beachfront event is free to the public, runs through April 29 and is expected to draw nearly 1 million visitors. This weekend's show features headliners, The United States Air Force Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds are joined by an impressive array of military and civilian pilots who fly aircraft ranging from vintage planes to military jets in a celebration of patriotism, daredevil stunts and raw power. The four-hour lineup on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29 features: Black Diamond Jet Team, GEICO Skytypers, U.S. Navy Seal Leapfrogs, 2011 Freestyle Aerobatic World Champion Rob Holland, a US Coastguard Search & Rescue demonstration and the 200-plus mile-per-hour Miss Geico race boat, in a sea-versus-air display of speed and competition.
"We are estimating a $5 million impact on the local community, which is no small thing in a recovering economy," explains Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "But more than that, the air show is a beloved and inspiring event for our local families as well as visitors from around the world."
An expert on putting on air shows in beach communities, Bryan Lilley, of B. Lilley Productions, the producers of the Lauderdale Air Show adds, "Turning an oceanfront, four-lane highway into a mile-long spectator route is an extremely complicated venture. We couldn't make an event of this scope work without the advocacy from the city, county communities and the hotels that make up this dynamic destination."
For show details, visit www.sunny.org/lauderdaleairshow.
SOURCE Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau