TAMPA — The Blue Angels are coming back to Tampa to headline AirFest 2020.
The display of military might and aerial derring-do, now a semi-annual event, is scheduled to be held March 28-29, 2020, according to officials at MacDill Air Force Base.
AirFest 2018, which took place on May 12-13 this year, attracted more than 150,000 visitors, base officials said.
Terry Montrose, a spokesman for the 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill’s host unit, confirmed the dates after base officials learned the Blue Angels would be the headline act. The decision was made during the International Council of Air Shows conference in Las Vegas.
The selection is the beginning of a long process that includes a fundraising partnership with local business leaders. It will likely include figuring out new ways of handling the massive traffic congestion that kept some people from attending this year’s event.
Despite those issues, base officials and the Blue Angels say the event, which included demonstrations by an F-22 Raptor and A-10 Thunderbolt II jets as well as dozens of static displays, was a huge success.
“We are really looking forward to coming back in 2020,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. David Gardner, a spokesman for the sailing branch’s Blue Angels aerial demonstration team, which is based in Pensacola. “It’s always a great time performing in a military town.”
Those who have seen the show before can expect something similar in 2020, Gardner said.
Even for the best pilots, flying so fast, low and in tight formations is dangerous work. In 2016, Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, was killed after his F/A 18 jet crashed prior to the Great Tennessee Air Show.
Montrose said it was too early to say which additional aerobatic acts or static displays will be on hand.
Contact Howard Altman at [email protected] or (813) 225-3112 . Follow @haltman .