For the last two years, the Huntington Beach Airshow has attracted millions of attendees and thrilled both locals and visitors alike in the popular Southern California beach city. The jaw-dropping show, which has featured both the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels among many other world-class performers, has now been rebranded ?The Great Pacific Airshow? and will now be steered with new leadership, a Huntington Beach local, Kevin Elliott, who took the helm of the event in June (the show takes place October 19?21).
Now owned by Pacific Airshow, LLC, the airshow will now be produced by Elliott?s company Huntington Beach business Code Four, and this year?s show will feature the thrilling sights and sounds of The United States Air Force Thunderbirds and many more civilian and military performers.
Elliott explained to me why he got involved. ?I was born and raised in Huntington Beach.I started my company here about 13 years ago and we employ about 50 people, working with some of the biggest brands in the world. I’m a local guy. I’m also a pilot. Two years ago when my wife and I attended the first airshow, we were totally blown away just like everyone else. It was a spectacular show, but I also automatically looked at how it could be better. From a business standpoint, I knew they had some issues with generating money and sponsors and look, our company produces really big events. We get this sort of thing, and so I thoughtIt would be a great idea to get involved to help make this the greatest airshow in the world, that was still successful on a business level.
I asked Elliott what he felt the biggest challenges would be in this sizable undertaking.
?One of the biggest challenges for us right now is securing the right sponsor partnerships. To make this a world-class event worthy of the attendance numbers, the partnerships really matter. We also want to create many different sorts of opportunities for people to be able to enjoy the show in unique ways. For some, it’s about having a $20,000 chalet. For others, it’s a $149 dollar option that includes food and alcohol. Or a $10 option that includes a cash bar, food options, restrooms?and for those that just want to come and hang out at the beach, well, they are entitled to an exceptional experience as well. The sponsorships will obviously take a little time to pull together but I think we’ve done a good job already of offering a variety of experiences tailored to every kind of budget.
Elliott, an affable and enthusiastic businessman, is looking forward to the next several years. ?We have a permit for the next three years and then an option for another two. Out goal will be to grow this show each year into something bigger and better than any other airshow in the world.?
As announced, headlining the show for a second time is the pride of the Air Force, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Flying Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons, the Thunderbirds perform with mind-bending precision and choreographed sequences that electrify audiences with every roll, pass and formation.
These performer descriptions were also provided:
Jeff Boerboon is no stranger to the Great Pacific Airshow, fans may remember Boerboon?s Screaming Sasquatch, the jet propelled biplane that performed in 2016. Making its West Coast debut and bringing twice the excitement to Huntington Beach at this year?s Airshow is Jeff Boerboon?s Yak 110. This one of a kind aircraft is made of two fuselages, two propellers, one jet engine and one pilot. Boerboon?s performance will include rolls, dives and spins that will thrill attendees of all ages.
Another returning favorite will be the Lyon Air Museum?s C-47 Dakota, also known as the ?Willa Dean.? This plane is one of the most complete and original C-47s currently in operation and has been flying since 1941. Flying another piece of history is Greg Colyer who will fly a T-33 he named the ?Ace Maker,? the U.S. Air Force?s first operational jet.
Seasoned airshow professional and fan-favorite, Bill Stein, will be flying his Edge 540. Stein began flying aerobatics when he was still a student pilot and has performed at air shows all across the United States for over 20 years. Michael Wiskus is another experienced professional who has been flying planes for over 40 years. In fact, Wiskus has never had any other job. He will be flying Lucas Oil?s stunt plane ?Super Stinker,? formally known as the S-1?11B. This plane has been redesigned from its original build to reach new heights that will wow crowds at this year?s airshow.
The Huntington Beach Police Department and Marine Safety Division will again team up for a Search and Rescue Demo that will show their techniques for open water rescues.
Military performers include a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, one the largest military transport aircraft, and KC 135 Stratotanker. These two aircraft will perform a simulated air-to-air refueling demonstration.
Returning for its third year will be the FedEx 757. This transport aircraft thrilled the crowds in 2017 when during a low, high speed pass the Boeing 757 achieved aerodynamic contrails, or vapor, over the wings.
As Elliot outlined, attendees this year will also have the opportunity to experience the show from the best seats in the house. New VIP ticketing options provide premium viewing experiences, with food and beverage options, and even seating on the pier. For more information visit pacificairshow.com/tgpatickets. No matter where you are your experience will be enhanced with the live audio simulcast through the iHeart Radio LA app?s custom Airshow channel. Download the app now, and enjoy pre-show interviews with pilots, tips for visiting the show and more.
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