Civilian Jet Confirmed As Air Show Headliner

OCEAN CITY — Just weeks after the U.S. Navy Blue Angels team, the planned headliner of the 2013 Ocean City Air Show, announced it was shutting down its show schedule indefinitely, the event has added a civilian-owned Harrier jet to the lineup.

In mid-April, the Blue Angels announced all remaining appearances for 2013 had been cancelled due to budget cuts caused by sequestration. The Blue Angels’ decision followed an earlier announcement that all other military air demonstration teams were being grounded for the remainder of 2013 and likely beyond.

While certainly disappointing, the Blue Angels announcement was not unexpected. Ocean City Air Show producer Brian Lilley briefed the Mayor and Council in February on the potential grounding of military demonstration teams for air shows around the country and vowed the show would go on as planned regardless of the outcome of sequestration. The show’s producers promised to fill the void with the best private sector acts available and began patching together an all-civilian line-up.

On Monday morning, Ocean City Air Show officials announced they had secured the Sea Harrier jet, which is the only civilian-owned Harrier jet in the world. The Sea Harrier will now be focal point of the Ocean City Air Show set for June 8-9. The Sea Harrier is known for its vertical take-offs and landings and can fly over 600 miles per hour, returning the roar of a jet over the resort area during the 2013 event. The Harrier is flown by Art Nalls, a former Marine test pilot and U.S. Naval Academy graduate.

“Lovers of jets will not be disappointed,” said Lilley. “The Harrier jet is going to get your attention.”

The Sea Harrier is just one of many civilian acts lined up for the 2013 Ocean City Air Show. The all-star, all-civilian line-up also included ace pilot Chuck Aaron and the Red Bull helicopter. Aaron is the only civilian pilot in the country licensed to fly helicopter aerobatics and will do rolls, back flips and stalls just like airplanes do. The show will also feature aerobatic pilot Mike Wiskus in the Lucas Oil Pitts and the Lucas Oil jump team. The Geico Skytypers and the L-39 jet demonstration team are also listed as performers. Additionally, the Raiders demonstration team, which features four to six Yahkovlev 52 and Nanchang CJ6 aircraft flying in formation, will be coming to Ocean City for the June event, according to its website.