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Blue Angels to headline Huntington Beach air show this weekend

The thunderous sound of jet engines will resonate across the Huntington Beach area this weekend as pilots perform death-defying aerial maneuvers during the Breitling Huntington Beach Airshow.

The famed Navy Blue Angels precision flying team will highlight the second annual event along with the Canadian Snowbirds, another popular military jet demonstration team.

Air show director Michael McCabe has said he believes this year’s event will exceed last year’s in “every measurable way.”

“If you haven’t seen them, the grace of the Snowbirds followed by the precision of the Blue Angels will leave you breathless,” McCabe said.

What’s that noise? Blue Angels are preparing for Huntington Beach air show »

The spectator section for the show will be on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier. General admission is free, though tickets for the Aviator Beach Club area — with a buffet, bar and premium viewing location — can be purchased for $139 for Friday and $199 for Saturday and Sunday.

Event officials have estimated this year’s show will draw 1 million people. Last year’s event, which featured the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Breitling Jet Team, was attended by about 560,000.

Aside from the jet demonstrations, Franky Zapata will fly his hoverboard, the Flyboard Air, in his first performance at an American air show. Zapata invented the jet-propelled board, which he says can travel up to 93 mph and more than a mile high while he stands on it upright.

The event also will feature a daily festival at Pier Plaza with exhibits from Boeing, Suzuki and others. Visitors can look at rockets and take a spin in a flight simulator at a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, exhibit.

Huntington Beach’s Main Street will be closed Saturday and Sunday for a display of military vehicles.

Food trucks will be available at the event from Dogzilla, Ninjas with Appetite, The Cut Truck, Burnt Truck and Cousin’s Main Lobster. Ruby’s Diner also will serve food at the festival.

As with other big events at the beach, officials said parking may be a problem and that traffic delays are expected throughout the city.

Visitors can park downtown at metered spaces, at the state beach, in city parking lots along the beach or at parking structures such as the Main Promenade at 222 Third St., the Strand at 155 Fifth St. or the Pierside Pavilion at 126 Main St. Rates will be doubled to $30 at all south beach lots, and the hourly rates will be doubled at the Main Promenade structure, with a maximum daily rate of $30 as part of a City Council decision this month.

For those who don’t want to deal with parking, Uber and Lyft are offering discounts for first-time users during the show at lyft.com/invite/hbairshow17 and get.uber.com/go/hbairshow.

The Surf City USA Shuttle will be running from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the show. For more information on stops, visit surfcityusa.com/shuttle.

The path to this year’s show wasn’t without obstacles.

Because of an estimated financial shortfall of $350,000, the show’s operator, AirSupport LLC, requested help from the city in August. The council on Sept. 5 approved temporary rate increases for parking and recreational vehicle camping during the event to provide about $100,000 worth of support. Council members said it was important to help an event that brings revenue to downtown businesses.

The council also allowed AirSupport to delay its payments for public safety and other city personnel for up to 45 days after the show.

The show is expected to cost $975,000. Last year’s edition lost about $400,000.

A portion of vendors’ proceeds will go toward the Aerospace Educational Foundation of Huntington Beach, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering education in the aerospace industry.

IF YOU GO

What: Breitling Huntington Beach Airshow

When: Noon to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday (Friday is a practice session). The Airshow Festival will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at Pier Plaza.

Where: Just south of the Huntington Beach Pier at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway

Cost: Free. VIP tickets are available for $139 for Friday and $199 for Saturday and Sunday.

Information: hbairshow.com

benjamin.brazil@latimes.com

Twitter:@benbrazilpilot


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