TITUSVILLE, Fla. - Depending on what's going on at the TICO Warbird Airshow, look up or look down. After all, the event hosted by the Valiant Air Command in Titusville features an impressive lineup of vintage aircraft that will kiss the sky. Guests will get an opportunity to ride the C-47 TICO Belle.
The airshow takes off Friday through Sunday. According to Local 6 News partner Florida Today, features include a beer garden, food vendors, World War II re-enactors, a classic and antique car show, and kids' activities.
"It's our chance to share with our community the things we love," said Ron Davis, public relations director for VAC. "We've got some performers that haven't been here prior to now," he added, citing the GEICO Skytypers.
The aerial team performed in November during the Melbourne Air and Space Show at Paradise Beach Park. While the military demonstration team won't be back for that festival, they're part of the all-star lineup for Tico.
The flight team uses six vintage World War II aircraft and "types" dot-matrix-style messages that are about 1,000 feet tall. They follow a military-style formation to perform the stunts.
About 35,000 people attended last year's event.
The theme this year honors the Tuskegee Airmen. "They were a group of African-American pilots who overcame a great deal of reluctance and were able to train and go into combat as a fighter unit," Davis said.
Three of the original pilots of that organization, whom he estimated are in their 90s, will be at the air show.
"Several of these Tuskegee Airmen went on to distinguished careers," Davis said, "so I think it's entirely appropriate that these survivors, that we take the time to say thank you for what they've done for us in the succeeding generation. There's really a tremendous step forward toward achieving the goal of equality."
One of the performances at the air show will be a demonstration of tactics.
Davis calls one craft a superb high-performance starfighter. "It's hard to believe this plane flew 1,400 mph in 1954," he said. "It makes an unearthly noise, and it is a spectacular performer. A legendary airplane. It literally broke through all sorts of technological barriers to achieve its performance. We're going to be so tickled to have that."
He thinks there will be roughly 30 to 35 military-type aircraft up at the same time. Other festivities include parachute dropping, vintage airplane rides, a Huey helicopter on display and a children's carnival.
"We'll have high-performance acrobatic pilots from literally all over the country flying some unique airplanes with unique and exciting routines," Davis said. "Very maneuverable, very powerful airplanes, but their performances are flown close to the ground right in front of the crowd."
The flight line will be open till about noon. Guests are welcome to chat with pilots or watch them prepare. VAC kicks off the airshow between 12:30 and 1 p.m., and the crafts fly till about 5 p.m.
"You can talk to people who flew (the aircraft), people who made it their career to maintain them, and find out more about the airplanes that you, your daddy or your granddaddy may have flown," Davis said. "It's a show we're proud of."
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