Fort Lauderdale Air Show soars back after 3-year hiatus

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) — The Fort Lauderdale Air Show returned to South Florida after a three-year hiatus, Saturday morning.

Thousands of people unfolded their beach chairs and set up their spots bright and early, right along the water on Fort Lauderdale Beach, to get the best possible view of this one-of-a-kind show. "We wanted to get a good seat. We got up at 5 o’clock in the morning to be here," said one woman.

Ayana Aceved said the weather couldn’t have been more ideal. It’s nice. It’s the perfect day for it, and the perfect location for it, too," she said.

Peter Belkind said the event was a trip down memory lane for him. "We lucked away on here, and this is fantastic. I feel like I’m 7 again."

Some came to watch the show for the first time. "This is my first time. I’ve only been here for 14 years," said one spectator in a fit of laughter.

There are headlining groups this year: the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the Canadian Armed Forces Snowbirds and the Breitling Jet Team.

The big ticket item was the Air Force’s newest and most advanced jet: the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The state-of-the-art aircraft made its debut in a civilian airshow, Saturday.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ed De Leon touted the new jet’s impressive speed. "Cruise is about 400 to 500 miles per hour. Our top speed is about 1.6 mach, which turns out to be about 1200 miles per hour," he said.

As the jets took to the skies in a breathtaking display of military might, attendees felt an undeniable rush. "Just the thrill of it. I mean, we’ve all just been sitting here with goosebumps," said Cheryl Kleinert.

A total of 14 acts hit the sky, making for a memorable Mother’s Day weekend. "I think this is fantastic," said Rafel Rosario. "I missed it for the last few years, and next year it’s going to be even bigger and better."

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