Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University hosted its bi-annual Wings and Waves airshow over the beaches of Daytona Beach. The event took place over the weekend of October 11-12 in front over 100,000 attendees, and hosted some of the biggest names in the airshow industry.
The master of ceremonies was none other than Sonny Everett, who has been an MC since he was 17 years old in 1963. With his aviation knowledge in hand, he led the audience through explanations of some of the perfectly choreographed routines the airshow pilots have to perform.
Highlights of the day included the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, doing demonstration routines full of near-misses and low passes in the air. The Air Force demonstration team, aptly nicknamed “The Ambassadors in Blue”, consists of 6 aircrafts piloted by some of Embry-Riddle’s own alumni—3 of them to be exact!
Other highlights included famous airshow performer Patty Wagstaff, who is a six-time member of the U.S. Acrobatic Team, and has won countless awards in both national and international air acrobatic competitions, including the honor of being the first woman to win the U.S National Aerobatic Championship.
Several WWII-era aircraft were also on hand, including the GEICO Skytypers’ SNJ-2 airplanes, a P-51 Mustang, a T-6, and the Korean-war famed F4U-4 Corsair.
But by far the best performance was put on by Jack Link’s-sponsored Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet-Waco. Unveiled last year, and doing its first demonstrations in 2014, the airplane is an engineering marvel. It combines the ease of a taperwing Waco, the aircraft of choice by the barnstormers of the 20s and 30s, with the modern technology of a jet engine. The pilot in command is John Klatt, an Air National Guard Veteran. Our very own Jason Mayhew got to meet him in person before the airshow, and has an interview ready for the next Orlando Fun and Food Podcast!
Despite the sweltering sun, the airshow was a blast for the whole family. The event was completely free, and is a part of Embry-Riddle’s homecoming celebrations (since there is no football team, an airshow is the next best thing, right?). As my alma mater, I have been to 3 of these airshows now over the past 4.5 years. Every airshow they put on is completely different, with different performers and aircraft every time! Plus, there’s some fun booths set up as well that highlight cool research going on at ERAU.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world’s largest fully accredited aviation and aerospace university in the world. It now boasts over 100,000 alumni strong in all aspects of the aviation industry, and is the largest provider of airline pilots with a degree to the industry. It was dubbed “The Harvard of the Skies” by Time Magazine in 1979.
Check out this awesome video of Jason on his ride along with the Jack Links Screamin’ Sasquatch!