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Record 120,000 attend inaugural Wings Over Myrtle Beach

The inaugural Wings Over Myrtle Beach air show drew 120,000 in attendence. (Charles Atkeison)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC — Military aircraft and the nation’s top aerobatic performers took to the clear skies over Myrtle Beach for the coastal communities first air show in two decades.

The area known as the Grand Strand enjoyed the inaugural event under blue skies and seasonable temperatures on Saturday and Sunday. An estimated record crowd of 120,000 guests, not to mention another 20,000 air show fans located outside the airport’s perimeter and on the beach, viewed in awe the dizzying array of aerobatic performances, live music, and a top notch aviation themed kids zone.

USSOCOM Para-Commandos Team descends into Wings Over Myrtle Beach. (Charles Atkeison)

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force F-16 Viper demonstration team headlined the military performers attending. The GEICO Skytypers and aerobatic pilots Michael Wiskus, Patty Wagstaff, and Rob Holland were a few of the civilian performers.

The high speed maneuvers and low passes of the Blue Angels and the Viper jet had guests standing and appauding during the final two hours. The audience in attendance let out huge awes as the Blues and the Skytypers performed their own bomb burst maneuvers each day.

Air Force KC-135 Tanker, built in 1958 and still in use, was popular with attendees. (Charles Atkeison)

“Are you kidding me, this is the coolest show,” Lucas Oil biplane pilot Mike Wiskus said on Sunday. “In my performances I do one of the lowest ribbon cuts — a 15-foot inverted ribbon cut — and I always like doing that one. I also do a forward summersult where I get the airplane to stop a thousand feet in the air and do a summersault.”

Pilot Jim Record of the GEICO Skytypers stepped in on Sunday to express with AvGeekery his interest in the Myrtle Beach show. “This is a terriffic show, and we are really proud to be here.”
Massive Boeing C-17 Globemaster III sits poised during a Myrtle Beach sunrise. (Charles Atkeison)

Air show organizers already have one eye on the future as they have begun preparing for the second annual Wings Over Myrtle Beach set for May 2019. Officially, the Air Force Thunderbirds is currently scheduled to headline the event.

(Charles A. Atkeison reports on aerospace and science. Follow his updates on social media via @Military_Flight.)

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Charles Atkeison

Written by Charles Atkeison

Charles A Atkeison is a long time aerospace journalist having covered both military and civilian aviation, plus 30 space shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral. He has produced multimedia aerospace content for CNN, London's Sky News, radio, print, and the web for twenty years. From flying with his father at age 5 to soaring as a VIP recently with the Navy's Blue Angels and USAF Thunderbirds, Charles continues to enjoy all aspects of flight.

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