It’s a bird...it’s a plane... lots of planes! The Fort Lauderdale Air Show is back April 30-May 1 with thrilling acts by lauded pilots from the military and entertainment industries.
Set on and over Fort Lauderdale beach, the weekend-long annual event is full of unbelievable aerial acrobatics guaranteed to make for a memorable time on our sandy shores.
All the major aerial acts will perform both Saturday and Sunday from 11:45 a.m. to around 3 p.m. with opening ceremonies starting at 11:15 a.m.
Perhaps the most anticipated act in the weekend lineup is the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. These pilots fly six F-16 Fighting Falcons in both group formations and solo tricks, including loops, rolls, turns, and coming within just four feet of one another in the air. The Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II will also be a part of the show, with a demonstration of its abilities to provide close air support. The last military performer is the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Parachute Team, a volunteer group of Special Forces.
Red Bull is also a part of the show, with its helicopter being one of a handful in the entire world certified to do tricks, such as flying upside down, barrel rolls, vertical climbs, and nose dives. The company’s Red Bull Air Force consists of aerial jump demonstrations in their signature blue, white, red, and yellow “squirrel” suits.
American pilot Kirby Chambliss will also be taking to the skies. Chambliss is the five-time winner of the National Aerobatic Championship and one of the two American pilots to win the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, requiring him to maintain a radical span of 18Gs!
If you’re lucky enough to live close to Fort Lauderdale beach, you might be able to see the action from your backyard. However, there are plenty of VIP and watch parties set up along the beach for those who don’t.
The Fort Lauderdale Air Show has ticketed spaces for guests to indulge in the show, from 10-by-12-foot sandboxes to the VIP penthouse experience on the 10th floor of the Pelican Grand Beach Resort. Many beach hotels, restaurants, and bars along Fort Lauderdale beach host viewing parties, so keep your eyes peeled for those experiences.
If you love the ocean as much as the twists and turns up above for the show, the U.S. Coast Guard will have a 4-mile safety zone that stretches along the eastern perimeter of the show space that goes out about one mile. Boaters can bring their vessels to the watercraft viewing area just outside of this safety zone to enjoy a day on the water while watching the airplanes, helicopters, and daredevils complete their tricks.
The event is free if you don’t want to pay for extras. If you can’t make it to the show but would like to watch it, show organizers offer a livestream video option on its website.
PRO TIP: On the Friday before the show, there will be a dress rehearsal, which you can watch from Fort Lauderdale beach. Though the rehearsal schedule isn't public, bookmark the event’s official Facebook page for the latest updates.
Expect a lot of traffic around Fort Lauderdale beach during the show, as it certainly draws a crowd. A1A will be closed off to road traffic and open to pedestrians, although security will be asking people to keep it moving. Guests are encouraged to check out the viewing options we shared before.
There will be public parking at The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale for guests who purchase Drop Zone and Sand Box tickets. Parking is included with the Flight Line Club VIP tickets. Handicapped parking will be available. There will be no shuttles taking guests to the show. The length of the journey on foot will depend on your final destination but is about a 2-mile walk. You can also split a ride-sharing service with your group.
If waiting in traffic after the show isn’t your idea of fun, you can wait it out right where you are on Fort Lauderdale beach! This stretch has a litany of food and beverage options, from the tucked-away Wine Garden, sushi at Takato, or poolside drinks at The Kimpton Goodland Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach. Any destination on the beach will be a hotspot, so make reservations ahead of time to ensure a spot.
Do as the locals do and join us on the beach for the air show. We hope to see you there!