STUART, Fla. — The air power and thrust of the U.S. Air Force will headline this weekend’s massive air show over southeastern Florida.
The Stuart Air Show will host the largest array of both military and civilian aircraft this year. This show is the first to feature static aircraft, an air show staple missing during 2020 due to Covid safety.
The F-16C Viper, F-22A Raptor, F-35A Lightning II, and A-10C Warthog are on the performers list during Veteran’s Day weekend. Civilian performers scheduled include the GEICO Skytypers, AeroShell Aerobatics, Dash Aerosports, and more across Witham Field.
“This will be a Veterans Day weekend that aviation enthusiasts and anyone eager to experience a safe and exciting patriotic event outdoors, will not soon forget,” Stuart Air Show president Amy Bottegal said on Monday.
Unlike recent air shows headlined by the Air Force, Stuart will not have a drive-in format. Bottegal said air show officials have organized a safe-plan on par with the “Disney standard” for the massive 27-acre outdoor event.
“Our attendees always show up feeling confident that they’ll see amazing aerial and static aviation displays,” says Bottegal. “But we wanted to take the steps for them to feel even greater confidence in their ability to stay safe and healthy during the event.”
Static aircraft will include the Hurricane Hunters’ C-130 Hercules, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain “Tico Belle”, and popular warbirds. The popular DASH Aerosports STEM Trailer will also attend.
Viper Demo Team Excited to Perform
The Air Force’s Air Combat Command will have four of today’s fighter jets performing each day. The F-16C Viper demonstration team is excited for its third air show in as many weeks.
“We demonstrate the combat capabilities of the F-16,” Viper Demo Team pilot Maj. Garret “Toro” Schmitz explained to AvGeekery.com on Monday. “We are able to fly very low, very fast, a lot of G’s — it’s very maneuverable and it demonstrates the power.”
The team’s viper jet is affectionately known as Venom, and supports a paint scheme to resemble a viper. Maj. Schmitz will put the aircraft through 16 minutes of non-stop thrust and high speed maneuvers.
“We pull nine G’s for a 180-degrees to 360-degrees of turn, and then I’ll point (the F-16) straight up, put it on it’s tail and accelerate straight into the air,” Toro added. “It’s a beast.”
Toro also is scheduled to take part in a four-ship close formation flight. Known as the Heritage Flight, a P-51D Mustang and three modern Air Force jets fly a diamond formation to honor Airmen of yesteryear and today.
Tickets remain available for both days, including a front row section for photographers. Guests can also book flights aboard two Bell helicopters. Air show officials encourage purchasing tickets online.
(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)