Air and Space Show to move to Melbourne airport

Melbourne International Airport could host event

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Friday was a dress rehearsal for the Melbourne Air & Space Show at Paradise Beach Park. The Black Diamond Jet Team goes vertical.

MELBOURNE, Fla. - An air and space show once rooted at Cocoa Beach will come to Melbourne International Airport this fall, bringing high powered military jets along with it.

Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports the Melbourne International Airport authority board unanimously approved a request to host the airshow, subject to resolving logistical issues with the show organizers. Those include insurance, security and staffing issues.

With a new location and new title sponsor, the show this year will be called the Northrop Grumman Air and Space Show at Melbourne International Airport.

Organizer Bryan Lilley told the board that the show would be an economic boost for the area and would highlight aviation companies here, such as Embraer. 
"Really all around the airport there's a lot of positivity and support for this opportunity," Lilley said.

Lilley said he has planned the airshow acts around the schedules of commercial flights coming into Melbourne the days of the airshow. A representative of the Federal Aviation Administration told the airport board he had worked with Lilley to create a plan that would not delay flights.

"I think it is a tremendous opportunity," Lilley told the board. "Just the idea that you'd have U.S. Airways and Delta jets arriving and departing during the show, in front of tens of thousands of people, is just a dramatic advertisement."

Addressing safety concerns about having the airshow in a populated area, Lilley said the airport is big enough that all the acrobatic events would occur above airport property.

For four years, the airshow was held at Cocoa Beach. But last year, it moved to beachside Melbourne after the National Air Sea and Space Foundation lost funding from the Brevard County Tourism Development Council. Also, Cocoa Beach city commissioners opted not to cover the cost of police needed for the event.

Last year, it found a home at Paradise Beach Park on State Road A1A in Melbourne's beachside enclave, but the estimated 25,000 people who attended was far short of what organizers had hoped.

This year, military jet teams have returned to flight, something Lilley hopes will bolster attendance. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are slated to fly at the airport show, which is scheduled for Oct. 4 and 5

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