MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The warm sunshine and sugar beaches of South Carolina’s Grand Strand will set the backdrop for the inaugural Wings Over Myrtle Beach air show highlighted by the Navy’s Blue Angels.
The city’s first airshow in nearly twelve years will take place the weekend of April 28 and 29 as the top military and civilian aircraft perform flight demonstrations over the Myrtle Beach International Airport. Warbirds of yesteryear through today will be placed on static display near the flight line for guests to receive a close-up look.
The Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron known as the Blue Angels will help light the candles to honor Myrtle Beach’s 80th anniversary. The team’s high-gloss blue and yellow jets will perform 31 high precision aerobatic maneuvers demonstrating the handling characteristics of the F/A-18 Hornet.
Lead by first year team “Boss” CDR Eric Doyle, the Angels Diamond Team includes LT Damon Kroes, Maj. Jeff Mullins, LCDR Nate Scott. The two solo pilots, LT Tyler Davies and LT Brandon Hempler, will have both young and old in awe as the solos perform dynamic maneuvers at high speeds. These pilots are apart of an elite group of only 264 who have performed as a Blue Angel demonstration pilot during the squadron’s 72 year history.
Hometown hero and logistics specialist Zetta Archie is one of the Blue Angels in charge of purchasing and getting necessary spare parts for the team’s aircraft, tools for the mechanics, and the crisp blue uniforms to the squadron members. Archie is from nearby Sumter, S.C., and proud to see America’s Pride return to her home state.
The Air Force will be included as Major John “Rain” Waters pilots the high performance F-16 Viper jet through military style maneuvers each day of the show. The Myrtle Beach show will be just a puddle-jump away from the Viper Demonstration Team’s home base at Shaw, AFB.
“The best air shows tend to have a well-rounded and diverse lineup of performers to feature all types of aircraft. While the Blue Angels are fan favorites, the military jet demo teams offer the opportunity to focus on the capabilities of a single aircraft. The F-16 Viper Team performs an incredible demonstration wowing fans across the U.S.”
Maj. Waters will showcase the speed, maneuverability, and agility of the Viper jet aircraft during a nearly 20-minute performance. He refers to the F-16 as a “tremendous asset to our Air Force”.
“Engaging the community is important and by traveling to air shows across the nation we are able to connect with the people who might not have had the opportunity to meet someone who serves in the military,” F-16 Viper Demo Team chief spokesperson Michelle “Ambush” Clougher confirmed to this aerospace journalist on Wednesday. “I hope what we do as a demo team lights a fire in some young person to be my replacement one day.”
Air Boss George Cline will clear America’s top aerobatic pilots, including the world famous GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team, Smoke-n-Thunder jet car and jet truck and Rob Holland, for take-off each day. Holland, a seven-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion and four-time World Freestyle Aerobatic Championship, will pilot his MXS aircraft during a dizzying array of aerobatics as he dances his aircraft across the deep blue skies.
“I have a few maneuvers I like… tumbling end-over-end. It’s really about the whole performance,” Holland said standing near his red and black aircraft. “Putting together a good show from start to finish and making it all work. That’s what gets me excited.”
Aerobatic Champion Patty Wagstaff is also scheduled to perform as she pilots her German-built EXTRA 300S monoplane as airshow crowds watch in excitement. Wagstaff, a three time national champion who was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, is very focused to make every flight meaningful.
“Every low-level performance and every maneuver is styled and executed to demonstrate the precision, artistry, and heart-stopping excitement of a perfectly executed aerobatic maneuver,” she said. “I perform a wide range of maneuvers from multiple vertical snap rolls to lomcevaks, torque rolls and tailslides, and the inverted ribbon cut.”
The family-friendly air show will include the popular Kids Zone section allowing youngsters to experience military-style jump-a-roo inflatables and highwire swings.
Gates will open each day at 9:00 a.m. with a patriotic opening ceremony scheduled to begin two hours later. General admission and discount ticket packages are now available online for both days. This air show will support camping, including tents and RV’s, beginning that Friday afternoon.
(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)