Beaufort News

Air show director promises 'something for everyone'

Putting together an event that draws more than 170,000 people doesn't happen overnight.

The 2011 Beaufort Air Show at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort is less than two months away, but organizers say plans for the event began late last year when they got a commitment from the air show's headliner -- the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Blue Angels.

"We found out in December ... that the Blue Angels would be performing in Beaufort on April 30 and May 1," said Ivey Liipfert, the air show's director. "Since that announcement, we've been making preparations for the show. Working on an air show is a year-round effort."

The air show, hosted by the air station every other year, is scheduled for April 30 and May 1 and is free and open to the public. In 2009, the event -- which also featured the Blue Angels -- drew more than 170,000 people to the base over two days, according to air station officials.

Liipfert said the biggest challenge for organizers will be the physical set-up for the event as it nears.

"Fencing, tents and chairs are all being set up early in the week, but the aircraft don't actually arrive until closer to the weekend," Liipfert said. "You can imagine what it's like maneuvering some of the bigger planes or helicopters around the ramp when everything is already set up."

In addition to the Blue Angels' performance, the air show will feature performances by other aerial acts, displays of military fighter jets and helicopters and an appearance by the Army Golden Knights Parachute Team during the opening ceremony.

"We are making sure we've got something for everyone at this year's show," Liipfert said. "We take an enormous amount of pride in producing this air show for the people of Beaufort and those who travel from around the country."