Page 6 - World Airshow News Summer 2021
P. 6


                                     Airshows Are Back!

                             S    eventeen months. That’s how   Almost every weekend since April airshows have once again been
                                                               taking to the skies across the USA.
                                  long it had been since the last
                                                                  The airshows that did cancel created a few holes in the sched-
                                  time I had walked through the
                                  gates of an airshow, but it hadn’t
                                                               teams have appeared together at two events so far this year, some-
                             been just any seventeen months. It had   ules for the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels, and to fill them, both
                             been seventeen months with an un-  thing that rarely happens in normal times. The July 3-4 KC Air
                             precedented global pandemic, stay-at-  Show in Kansas City and the August 7-8 Thunder Over Michigan
                             home orders, travel restrictions, and   in Ypsilanti were fortunate to snag performances by both U.S. jet
                             bans on mass gatherings like airshows.   teams.
                             The term “Zooming” had even come     Most recently, the granddaddy of all American airshows, EAA
                             to mean something totally different   AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, also staged its triumphant
                             than what we in the aviation and air-  return after the disappointing cancellation in 2020. Like SUN
                             show world have always meant when   ‘n FUN before it, AirVenture represented the happy, refreshing
        we have used that word.                                return to the normalcy we’ve all yearned for over the last year.
           We at World Airshow News have been first-hand eyewitnesses   While there were a few minor adjustments because of the pan-
        to the devastation the pandemic wreaked on our small but close-  demic, overall, it was hard to distinguish AirVenture 2021 from
        knit industry. Airshows were cancelled, airshow businesses were   the 67 annual EAA get together that preceded it. It was great to
        disrupted, and sadly, some in our airshow family even lost their   be back in Oshkosh!
        lives to the terrible disease known as COVID-19.          With near record crowds topping 600,000 people over seven-
           So, as I walked through the entrance to the 2021 SUN ‘n FUN   days, AirVenture once again showed why it is called “The World’s
        Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida back in mid-April, I didn’t   Greatest Aviation Celebration.” As always, AirVenture featured
        know quite what to expect. Would it feel different? Would it feel   the most diverse lineup of aircraft anywhere – from light sport,
        safe? Might SUN ‘n FUN not be as much fun as it had always   ultralight, and homebuilt aircraft to a massive UPS Boeing 747-
        been?                                                  8F and some of the latest military jets. The daily airshows were
           Whatever questions or concerns I might have had before   as varied and entertaining as always, with a great mix of veteran
        walking through that gate, however, simply vanished once my   performers, as well as some new faces making their first AirVen-
        senses were assaulted with the sights and sounds of aircraft en-  ture appearances.
        gines, blue skies, and thousands of aviation enthusiasts reveling   The absence of airshows has forced us to adjust our publica-
        in the return of one of America’s leading aviation and airshow   tion schedule over the last year or so, and because of those ad-
        events. Not only was SUN ‘n FUN still fun, but for the first time   justments, our reports on both SUN ‘n FUN and AirVenture are
        in over a year, for a few days at least, life seemed pretty darn nor-  appearing in this same issue. While that’s certainly unusual, cov-
        mal again. Yes, there were signs saying face masks were required   ering North America’s two most significant aviation events in the
        in indoor areas, and the exhibit buildings had a few more vacan-  same issue seems a great way the celebrate airshows’ return.
        cies than normal, but otherwise, SUN ‘n FUN didn’t really feel all   With airshows back, and this issue’s publication falling in
        that much different than the many other years that I had walked   its normal August calendar slot, we should be back on a typical
        across those spacious grounds under the warm Florida sun.  quarterly publication schedule. So, here’s hoping 2021 will con-
           SUN ‘n FUN was one of the first airshows in North America   tinue to see a lot more of that good, old-fashioned type of “zoom-
        to move forward this year, as many early spring events had still   ing” all across North America.
        opted to delay or cancel as vaccination rates gradually increased   Photo: Airshows are back, and here’s something we don’t often see at an airshow –
        and case counts slowly dropped. In the months since SUN ‘n   the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels together. A few days before their early July event,
        FUN, however, the constant drumbeat of airshow cancellations   the KC Air Show was able to add the Thunderbirds to a lineup that already included the
        has been replaced by airshows happily announcing, “We’re Back!”   Navy’s Blue Angels (photo by Don Thun).

                                     6  Summer 2021
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