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Posted: 3/12/2005 5:08:59 AM EST
Posted on Mon, Mar. 07, 2005

Air & Sea Show to feature F-22 Raptor stealth fighter
BY ROBERTO SANTIAGO

Speed and power always dominate the McDonald's Air & Sea Show, but this time the producers have kicked it up a supersonic notch.

The 11th annual weekend gala event, which takes place along Fort Lauderdale beach April 30 and May 1, will feature the rarely seen F-22 Raptor, a new stealth fighter jet so advanced that it can track and shoot down enemy aircraft before the enemy knows it's there. It travels at supersonic speeds.

And on the seas below, there will be -- on both days -- a 160 mph powerboat race featuring craft that can handle 6- to 8-foot waves.

''It is always a challenge trying to find new things that will impress the public,'' said executive producer Mickey Markoff, of the two new additions to this year's show. ``Last year, it looked as if we couldn't keep the show in Fort Lauderdale, but the city has committed itself to the show and we hope to continue showcasing it here this year and in coming years.''

Last year, the Air & Sea Show featured the Navy's Blue Angels.

This year, the rival U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds headline with their F-16s, performing nail-biting aerobatic feats.

They will joined by the U.S. Army Golden Knights and U.S. Navy Leap Frogs parachute demonstration teams.

Other acts include the U.S. Coast Guard rescue demonstration., a U.S. Navy and Marines Corps mock invasion of the beach, and fly-bys by the U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, U.S. Air Force F-117 stealth fighter and U.S. Marine Corps Harrier jet.

Civilians will also flaunt their air mastery in tiny planes. Acts include Team Oracle's Sean Tucker in his Pitts aerobatics plane, Kermit Weeks' Fantasy of Flight, Kirby Chambliss in the Red Bull Edge and Fred Cabanas Aerobatics team.

The McDonald's Air & Sea Show, which attracts thousands each year, is the culmination of the annual Fleet Week, which begins April 25.

Ships including the USS Saipan and the USS Nashville will bring in over 3,000 sailors to Broward County. Parties open to the public include the ''All Hands on Deck'' fiesta at Las Olas Riverfront on April 25 at 6 pm and the ''Anchor's Aweigh'' party at the Beach Place on April 27 at 6 pm.

Fort Lauderdale mayor Jim Naugle said that the annual show is an effective tool to help recruit young people.

''The average age of our recruits when they deploy is aged 20,'' said Rear Admiral Barry McCullough. ``And not long after some of those are flying fighter jets.''

Added Markoff: ''It's a thank you and an appreciation of all ofthe sacrifice our young people are doing here and aboard to preserve our nations freedoms,'' he said.

Link Posted: 3/12/2005 3:52:34 PM EST
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