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Chicago’s show attracts the best

Thu, Aug 23, 2012

The Chicago Air and Water Show is in its 54th year, but it seems to be defying both age and gravity. This year, it will go a step further with the commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. All the usual spectacle will be there as well, with some of the best aerobatic acts in the country.

“We bring the best talent in the world,” said Herb Hunter, veteran announcer for the show. “I don’t know of an air show performer in the world who wouldn’t want to perform in Chicago, and that’s the truth.”

The free show is expected to bring in one million spectators each day (Aug. 18 and 19). Fans from across the country will join thousands of Chicagoans at North Avenue Beach as they cheer on both military and civilian pilots performing dangerous and awe-inspiring stunts.

“They just fill the sky with smoke and noise right down there on the beach,” Hunter said, “and it’s just wonderful.”

The following acts will appear at the 2012 Chicago Air and Water Show:

U.S. Navy Blue Angels – This group has been astounding audiences since 1946 with its commanding presence and aerial maneuvers in their F/A-18 Hornets.

U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights – Jumping out of an aircraft 12,500 feet above the Earth’s surface, racing to North Avenue Beach at speeds exceeding 120 mph and landing with smiles, ready to do it all again; all in a day’s work for the Golden Knights.

U.S. Navy Parachute Team Leap Frogs – A typical Leap Frogs performance consists of 14 jumpers leaping out of an aircraft at an altitude of 12,500 feet.
AeroShell Acrobatic Team – This civilian team has been performing for over 20 years, amassing thousands of hours in front of air show fans all over North America.

Kirby Chambliss in the Red Bull Edge 540 – Chambliss has spent so much time up flying his Zivko Edge 540s he now jokes that the plane controls and wings are a mere extension of his own arms.

Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle – Tucker is a leader in the air show business as well as the larger aviation industry. He has received all of the air show industry’s highest honors. Additionally, Tucker has been named as one of the Living Legends in Aviation, recipient of the Crystal Eagle Award, the inductee at the 2001 USAF Gathering of Eagles and named as one of the Living Legends of Flight.

The Red Bull Air Force – The Red Bull Air Force is an elite group of skydivers.
Dave Dacy in the Super Stearman – Dacy has been performing in air shows and special events throughout the United States and Canada since the early 1970s. Soloing in a Aeronca Champ at the age of 16, Dacy was in the cockpit of a 220 H.P. Stearman teaching himself aerobatics by the time he was 20.

The Firebirds – The Firebirds flight demonstration combines the precision of formation aerobatics with radical gyroscopic tumbles and heart stopping head-on madness guaranteed to keep you on the edge.

Lima Lima Flight Crew – The Lima Lima Flight Team demonstration is flown with six airplanes. It includes several formation configurations, from the six-ship wedge and double arrowhead, to the basic finger four and diamond formations.

Matt Chapman Aerobat¬ics – Chapman is recognized as an extraordinary aerobatic pilot who thrills millions of air show fans each summer. Recognized for his skills, he won one of only five slots on the U.S. Unlimited Men’s Aerobatic Team in 1996 and 1998.

Chuck Aaron in the Red Bull Helicopter – “Malibu” Chuck Aaron is the first – and only – civilian pilot ever to be licensed to perform helicopter aerobatics in the United States. In fact, he’s one of only three pilots permitted to execute the dangerous maneuvers internationally.

Colleen Connolly, StreetWise Editorial Intern

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