Middle of August means the Chicago Air and Water Show is back. This year’s show, like all other shows in the US, was always going to be a bit different since the US military was not going to be taking part. That means a shift in emphasis from normal with a lot more civilian acts. With no headlining team this year (normally the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds alternate), there was a question as to whether the attendance would be significantly reduced. It is a free show so you might think it isn’t that big a deal but the sponsorship is important and that requires people to show so it was going to be interesting to see how things shaped up.
There were some jets to add some noise and speed to the proceedings. Art Nalls brought his Sea Harrier and Paul Wood brought the A-4 Skyhawk. Both displayed twice on the show days to add a hint of military jets to things. Of course, these are not operational fighters and are nursed a little more carefully than a front line jet which the pilot can swap for another if he breaks anything. However, they still are able to up the tempo a bit.
I mixed my time between the flying on the beach in Chicago and Gary airport where everyone was staging from. It is fun to get the mix of the actual displays and the activity around launching and recovering the planes. The shots are a mix of those. I got to spend a lot of time with Team SHAR and will have a separate post about that in due course. From what I saw and heard, the attendance on the beach was pretty strong, if a little down on previous years. It looks like the show does indeed go on!