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Three jet teams will soar over Huntington Beach during Great Pacific Airshow

A spectator watches as the Air Force Thunderbirds pass over during the 2018 Great Pacific Airshow in Huntington Beach.
(File Photo)

Three international jet teams will perform tricks across the sky next weekend for the annual Great Pacific Airshow in Huntington Beach.

The fourth edition of the free show, originally called the Breitling Huntington Beach Airshow, is slated for 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday through Oct. 6 in the area of the Waterfront Beach Resort along Pacific Coast Highway.

For the record:

10:42 a.m. Sept. 30, 2019Due to a late programming change, air show audio will not be available on the KFI/640 AM radio app, as this article originally reported.

The Air Force Thunderbirds will again zip and zoom above Surf City along with the United Kingdom’s Red Arrows and Canada’s Snowbirds.

Other performances will include pilot Mike Wiskus, the Special Operations Command parachute team, a FedEx fly-by, dueling jetpack riders and demonstrations from the Air Force F-35 Lightning II and A-10C Thunderbolt II.

With more than 2 million people expected to attend the three-day show, Kevin Elliott, president of Pacific Airshow LLC, said he’s “feeling quite good, but you’re never really done.”

“I feel like our team has done a lot to ... put it on solid footing,” said Elliott, who took the helm of the show in June 2018. “Last year, in 100 days we took a ready-to-fail event and turned it into a show that won [2018 Civilian Show Site of the Year from the Thunderbirds]. That’s such an accomplishment, right? We built on that success this year in building an event with a stronger lineup and building more partnerships in the community.”

City leaders raised concerns about the event’s financial future in 2017 after the inaugural show the year before lost about $400,000, despite attracting more than 560,000 visitors.

The concerns were quashed after a city staff study in early 2018 concluded that 2017’s air show — which drew more than 2 million spectators — helped local businesses and carried no additional cost for taxpayers.

Swiss watchmaker Breitling did not return as the title sponsor last year after the company divested from aviation activities after being sold.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive early next weekend to snag a free spot on the beach. Upgraded viewing seats will be offered again this year. Guests can buy tickets for seating on the Huntington Beach Pier, a private chalet on the beach with a catered lunch and hosted bar or VIP beach seating, which includes access to a no-host bar and private restrooms.

Parking is first-come, first-served. Hourly parking will be available at Pier Plaza on Pacific Coast Highway and the Main Promenade parking structure on Main Street. A bike valet will be offered on Main Street.

Free shuttle service will be available every half-hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 5-6. Pickups will be available at City Hall, 2000 Main St., and the Goldenwest Transportation Center, 7301 Center Ave. The last shuttle will depart the show area at 5:45 p.m. For more information, visit SurfCityUSA.com/shuttle.

Roaring jets may be heard over the area even before the show begins. The Snowbirds will arrive at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base. The Thunderbirds and F-35 Lightning Demo team will arrive at the base between noon and 2 p.m. Thursday. The Red Arrows will fly over Surf City between 4 and 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Residents can welcome the performers at a free community reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Pier Plaza. The event will feature live music, a question-and-answer and autograph session and official show merchandise.

For tickets and more information, visit pacificairshow.com.

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