Beaufort News

Beaufort Air Show takes flight - in cyberspace

Officials at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort want to give spectators a closer look at the base's upcoming air show.

MCAS Beaufort and Marine Corps Community Services are using popular social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to provide live traffic updates, post photos and give spectators a chance to interact with the event's performers, according to event organizers.

"In years past, the spectators came in, sat down and looked up into the sky to watch the air show, then went home," said Master Sgt. Chad McMeen, air station spokesman. "We really wanted to make this year's show more interactive and make spectators feel like they're part of the air show."

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. The event will again be headlined by the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Blue Angels.

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.

Event organizers are currently using Facebook and Twitter to generate excitement for the show and hold contests, said Kelly Jones, marketing technician for Marine Corps Community Services.

Organizers will host live chats on the live-streaming video web site Ustream with the air show's performers during the event, Jones said.

"Social networking really helps us accomplish the mission of the air show, which is to have it be an open house for the community to come and see the air station," Jones said. "This was a way to get people more involved."