Air Show To Expand Flyovers To North OC

OCEAN CITY — Resort business leaders this week got an update on the 2012 Ocean City Air Show, including a plan to extend many of the show’s flyovers to the north end of town.

Ocean City Air Show Director of Sponsorship and Hospitality Sales Steven Webster on Monday morning presented an update to the Ocean City Economic Development Committee (EDC) on the 2012 event set for June 9-10 in Ocean City. Among other things, Webster confirmed the signature act for 2012 will again be the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and told resort business leaders the U.S. Navy Blue Angels have committed for the 2013 event.

Webster also told EDC members because of ongoing economic concerns, the U.S. service groups such as the Air Force and Navy are cutting back somewhat on their demonstration team activities, but there are several private sector demonstration teams stepping on to fill the void. For example, the private sector Black Diamond Jet Team is expected to be an integral part of the 2012 Ocean City Air Show.

The expansion of the event in general and the addition of private sector acts has led to a new wrinkle in the air show plans for this year that will likely include more of the resort in the annual event. When air show organizers approached Carousel Resort managing partner Michael James about providing more rooms for entertainers and their crews late last year, James told them the facility would be glad to lend support as usual, but reminded them it has largely been a south-end Ocean City event in the past.

“We’ve been a big supporter of the air show for the last year or so and we want to continue to do that,” said James this week. “At the same time, we’ve been trying to find different ways to stimulate economic development in north Ocean City.”

As a result, air show organizers are planning to expand the flyover areas for the various entertainment teams to north Ocean City this year. Webster told EDC members on Monday expanding flyovers to include north Ocean City was a logical next step in the evolution of the event.

“In the past, the various jet teams and entertainers have kind of used Route 90 as a landmark for their turnaround point during the show, but this year they will head further north and use the Carousel as the turnaround point,” he said. “The Carousel is essentially the last in a long series of high-rise condos in the north end and the various demonstration teams will fly up to the Carousel and beyond before returning to the main demonstration area downtown.”

Webster explained the Ocean City Air Show has a five-mile section of air space which extends to the Delaware line available during the event and extending the flyovers to the north end should not present any problems or significant changes in the event. However, the north end will likely be used only for flyovers and a return point with no acrobatics or stunts planned for the north end.

The proposed expansion of the flyover zone for the 2012 air show comes after business leaders earlier this year formed the North Ocean City Business Alliance aimed at ensuring the often-overlooked north end of the resort gets its fair share in terms of marketing and promotion of special events. James, who has been instrumental in the formation of the alliance along with Greene Turtle North owner Steve Pappas, said this week getting at least part of the air show to carry over to north Ocean City was a step in the right direction.

“We’re trying to draw attention to the north end and focus on the need for an equitable distribution of special events and marketing,” he said. “We just don’t want everything to go to the Boardwalk and the Inlet by default. They’re not going to be doing all of the stunts and acrobatics up north, but it should provide some great visuals. I think it’s going to be very exciting for the people up in high-rise row and it might help deter some of that congestion in the downtown area during the show.”