Fort Lauderdale Air Show

Fans Flock to the Beach for the 10th Annual Fort Lauderdale Air Show

Despite a morning of bad weather, fans spent the day by the beach looking up to the sky in awe

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The Fort Lauderdale Air Show is back for its tenth year, bringing thousands to the beach to watch planes from all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Despite a morning of bad weather, fans spent most of Saturday by the beach looking up to the sky in awe.

“I'm retired air force, he’s retired air force," said Lee Spechler. "We live here in South Florida and we’ve been coming to this airshow for decades.”

Thousands of people are watching the show from the beach, from their condos or even on the water.

“We’re here from Colorado to watch this,” said out-of-towner Bob Brashear, one of many to travel from all over the country to see the show.

The heavy rain Saturday morning was a concern for some, but as skies cleared up, the show kicked off.

“Of course we’ve had some challenging moments here with the weather," said Fort Lauderdale Air Show spokesperson Chris Dirato. "But things seem to be brightening up and breaking up, I think we’re going to get a show in.”

“We thought well maybe they’ll fly, maybe they won’t," said Brashear. "We’re glad we’re here and they are.”

“We’re looking forward to the thunderbirds, because we get to pretend we’re up there with them, at least in our minds," said retired Air Force Tony Kijek.

“My son is a jet engine mechanic in Homestead," said Kijek. "He fixed the engine in the airplanes you just saw. We’re thrilled to be here today.”

Adding to the displays of pride at the Fort Lauderdale Air Show, local hero Gwendolyn Whitfield is being recognized for a brave stunt earlier this year.

“I come to the air shows," said Whitfield. "But only in my dreams, I didn’t know all they had to go through."

In March, Whitfield was behind the wheel of a Broward County Transit Bus when shots were fired on board. She then went against traffic to bring the bus to safety, parking right outside of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

“I’m thankful, I’m grateful. A little overwhelming, but overall, I’m happy about it,” she said.

After her brave act, Whitfield is being rewarded with what she's calling a dream.

“The most exciting thing about it is meeting these men and women that serve our country and being close to them and these planes, said Gwendolyn Whitfield. "They actually protect our country”

Dirato says the show is back with high expectations this year after a slower show in the past few years dealing with the pandemic.

“It was challenging the last couple of years," said Dirato. "We had to monitor the social distancing, and be aware of that, and have different contactless type of scenarios, so the reality is this year we can go full boat if you will.”

With the tricky weather this weekend, Dirato says the best way to stay updated on the program for the show is to keep up with the Facebook page.

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