Fort Lauderdale Air Show Returns April 28-29, 2012

Get ready for some serious noise – again. After a five-year hiatus, the thunder of fighter jets and bombers returns to Fort Lauderdale’s beach on April 28 and 29.

While in many ways similar, don’t confuse this with the old Air & Sea Show, which was held from 1995 to 2007. For this show, most of the available parking will be in municipal and private lots near the beach. Also, while general admission is free, you’ll need to purchase tickets to get into the best viewing areas.

Something that should remain the same: Shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. Here’s what else you need to know:

Who is performing?

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, a team of six F-16 fighter jets, will be the headliners, performing precision maneuvers and high-speed passes. The team is scheduled to fly at 3:15 p.m. both days, perform for about 45 minutes and close the show.

Other military performers include an Air Force B-1 bomber and a U.S. Navy F-18 Hornet demonstration. Also on tap: the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles, an Army parachute demonstration team; an Air Force F-15 formation flight and a Navy Reserve F-5 formation flight. The U.S. Coast Guard will give a search and rescue demonstration.

Among the civilian performers: Black Diamond Jet Team, a squadron of seven jets; Red Bull Air Force, a sky diving team; the Geico Skytypers, a squadron of six World War II era Navy planes that skywrite; and 2011 world aerobatics champion Rob Holland.

Some acts might be added – or deleted – as show time approaches. In all, about 15 acts will fly.

When is the show?

The flights run from noon to 4 p.m. both weekend days. Plan to arrive before 10 a.m. if you want to find parking and avoid the worst crowds.

For schedules and ticket information, visit or call 877.377.8499.

Where’s the best place to view the show up close?

The show’s center is just north of Sunrise Boulevard at State Road A1A. A premium viewing area will extend from Sunrise Boulevard to Northeast 14th Court. It includes food, beverages and special hospitality areas at additional charges. Tickets start at $29.

The Family Zone, which extends south of Sunrise Boulevard, provides free viewing, food and beverage concessions and plenty of portable toilets.

Where do I find parking – and what will it cost?

Generally, parking will be along the beach. More than 10,000 spaces should be available between two municipal lots off Las Olas, the municipal lot at South Beach Park and the municipal garage on Oakland Park Boulevard. Several private lots also will offer parking. Plan on paying $20.

A limited number of spaces will be available at The Galleria mall. Those who purchase premium viewing tickets in advance are guaranteed mall parking as along as they arrive by 1 p.m. and redeem a voucher issued upon purchase.

If you park downtown, Broward County Transit buses, trolleys and water taxis will operate normal schedules, and should bring you within walking distance of the show.

Will there be road closures?

Sunrise Boulevard will be closed west of the Intracoastal Waterway to general traffic. Those approaching the show center from the north will be stopped at Northeast 14th Street. State Road A1A will be closed from Vista Mar north.

The best ways to approach the beach: Oakland Park Boulevard, Las Olas Boulevard and the Southeast 17th Street Causeway.

Where are the best viewing areas inland?

Spectators should be able to see the planes as far away as the Las Olas Riverfront in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Also, several parks are on the fringes of the viewing area, including Annie Beck Park, 100 N. Victoria Park Rd.; Colee Hammock Park, 1500 Brickell Dr.; and DC Alexander Park, 501 Fort Lauderdale Beach Rd. Tune into WFTL 850 on radio to hear the air show’s narration.

What about viewing from boats?

Boaters will need to remain outside the air show’s safety zone, which extends 4,000 feet offshore. That zone will be marked by buoys that will be in place from 11 a.m. Thursday until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Boaters need to very aware of steep fines if they drop anchor on coral. Florida Department of Environmental Protection has advised they will will have five patrol boats in the area.

Can I bring alcohol to the show?

While libations can be purchased in the premium viewing and family zones, spectators are prohibited from bringing alcohol into those areas, and checkpoints will be set up to check coolers.

However, beyond those zones, for the first time during an air show, people can freely carry or consume a beer or alcoholic beverage, as long as it’s in a plastic cup.

What about food and restrooms?

Concessions and portable toilets will be set up along State Road A1A between Oakland Park and Las Olas, but can primarily be found within the family zone and the premium viewing area.

For schedules and ticket information, visit or call 877.377.8499.

Amy Vulpis is a full-time real estate professional with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale, FL who specializes in waterfront property. She is dedicated to providing her clients with the finest customer service available. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC is an international residential real estate franchise company with a growing global network of brokerages and real estate professionals. For more information on the Florida Real Estate market contact Amy Vulpis, Realtor @ 954.591.4280 or visit


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