Blue Angels to return in 2011 for Beaufort air show

The 2011 Beaufort Air Show at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort already has a headliner.

The Blue Angels, officially known as the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, will return to the skies over Beaufort on April 30 and May 1, 2011, according to air station officials. The base hosts the air show every other year.

"The Blue Angels are a familiar visitor to the Lowcountry," said Capt. Josiah Nicely, air station spokesman in an e-mail. "Not only renowned for their aerial prowess, they dedicate time on each visit to meet with community members and stop by local schools to inspire the next generation. Representing both the Navy and the Marine Corps, they are the premier example of the men and women in naval aviation today."

More than 170,000 spectators flocked to MCAS Beaufort in May to see the Blue Angels perform as part of the 2009 Beaufort Air Show, though heavy rains and lightning forced officials to cancel the squadron's performance on the final day of the show.

Randall Burch, chairman of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce's board of directors, said the Blue Angels and the air show are a major boost for local businesses.

"The Blue Angels have a strong following and strengthen attendance wherever they perform," Burch said. "We are thrilled to be on their circuit."

The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform 67 times in 2010, including an April 17 appearance at Charleston Air Force Base.

The squadron currently is training at its home at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., according to a Blue Angels news release.