At just five years old, Julius Bratton knew what he wanted to be: a pilot. Now a decorated Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy and the lead solo for the world-renowned Blue Angels, it is safe to say his five year-old self would be content.
Bratton and his fellow Blue Angels will headline the Fort Lauderdale Airshow yet again, after a year long absence from Fort Lauderdale’s skies.
The Blue Angels have a reputation for being the best of the best for a reason. When maneuvering, they fly as close together as 18 inches from one another, according to Bratton.
Joining them in the clouds will be more military-grade, stunt and antique aircraft. Models like the F-16 Viper, F-22 Raptor and even the new F-35 will all be showcased and perform simulated combat runs and other intensive actions.
The Red Bull stunt team, including a helicopter and plane which can perform gut wrenching maneuvers will be present in the sky this weekend. Also included are the Red Bull Air Force, which are a group of base jumpers that perform stunts in their wing suits as they descend.
For those with a penchant for history, both a Navy and Air Force heritage flight will be held, providing examples of the past and present state of aviation in both branches. The Vought F4U-Corsair will be representing the Navy and a North American Aviation P-51 Mustang will represent the Air Force.
Here is everything you need to know about this weekend’s aeronautic festivities.
When to Watch
On both Saturday and Sunday, the Shows will begin at 11:30 a.m., running until approximately 3:00 p.m. The Blue Angels will be the final spectacle of each day, beginning at around 2:00 p.m.
Where to Watch
Viewing the airshow in-person is free for those willing to be north of Sunrise Boulevard. Those who want better views of the seemingly physics-defying stunts will have to shell out. Beach passes for the “Drop Zone,” or the beach between Sunrise and Northeast 14th Court cost between $26 and $37.50 online until midnight on April 28.
The sand boxes, or designated areas on the beach for four people have been sold out. More expensive options like a personal beach tent that includes lunch and parking passes or a spot on the rooftop of the Pelican Grand, which includes valet parking and an open bar are available on the organizer’s website here.
Or, as always, if you know somebody with an apartment on the beach, give them a call.
State Road A1A is expected to be closed between Sunrise Boulevard and Northeast 14th Court from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 29-30. Las Olas Boulevard will also be closed from Seabreeze Boulevard to A1A from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.