Thousands expected at Saturday airshow

Published 12:56 am Thursday, November 15, 2018

Organizers of the South Alabama Airshow are preparing to deal with a crowd of more than 15,000 people at the South Alabama Regional Airport Saturday, but have logistics in place to accommodate the crowd.

“This is the type of airshow that you would see in metropolitan areas,” SARA Executive Director Jed Blackwell said. “We are bringing this here for the people of Covington County to enjoy.”

Blackwell said that Alabama State Troopers will be posted on Hwy. 84 to direct traffic to the parking lot off of Hwy. 84. Once that lot fills up, Blackwell said that vehicles will be directed to Entrance 3 on Airport Road. Shuttles will be available to get spectators to the viewing areas.

Bring your lawn chairs

There will be seating available for military veterans and their families. There will also be a handicap seating area as well as VIP/Sponsorship area for those with the proper credentials.

“We have those areas and the people in those areas will be required to show their badge,” Blackwell said. “We are encouraging everyone else to bring lawn chairs. There will be areas that are clearly marked for spectators to watch the show.”

Lots of options for food

Blackwell said there will be a number of food options available.

“We had 13 food vendors and we just added one more,” Blackwell said. “They are all different types of food so there will be something for everyone. There will also be 15 other vendors for arts, crafts and schools.”


Along with watching numerous air events, Blackwell said that the public will also have a chance to take a flight of their own.

“We have two helicopter companies that will be offering flights to the public,” Blackwell said. “Friends of Army Aviation will be offering flights in a UH-7, which is commonly referred as a Huey, for $50 per ride. Sierra Aeronautics Inc., will have Bell 47, which is known as the helicopter from the show ‘M.A.S.H.’, for $45 per ride.”

Blackwell said they expect a big crowd on Saturday.

“The first year we did this we came in blind and had around 9-10,000 people,” Blackwell said. “This year, we were expecting around 10-12,000, but with the good weather we are thinking it could be around 13-17,000 and could be as many as 25,000. We’ve had double the amount of contacts for this year’s show so we expect a lot of people to come out and enjoy this amazing show.”

With that many people expected, Blackwell said that people will be subject to screenings from law enforcement officers.

“Everyone is subject to being checked,” Blackwell said. “We will have federal, state and local law enforcement officers everywhere to make sure that everyone is safe. This is going to be a fun event, but safety is the first thing we are concerned about.  People will be checked as they come through. There will be no personal coolers allowed and purses are subject to being checked.”

Gates will open at 9:30 a.m., and the opening ceremony will be at 11:30 a.m.

The airshow will last until 5 p.m.