Aviation

The Alliance Air Show is back! What you need to know before you go

Alliance Airshow: First person with Mac Engel

Sports columnist Mac Engel takes a ride Thursday with pilot Sean Tucker on an acrobatic airplane destined to be retired at the Smithsonian.
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Sports columnist Mac Engel takes a ride Thursday with pilot Sean Tucker on an acrobatic airplane destined to be retired at the Smithsonian.

UPDATE: The Saturday performance of the air show has been canceled, according to air show officials. The Sunday show is still scheduled to go on.

It’s considered one of the top three air shows in the United States, and it will go on rain or shine.

But this year’s version of the Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show may present some challenges to the 120,000 people expected to attend Saturday and Sunday.

Mainly, it’s because of the weather.

The forecast calls for a rainy weekend, with potentially heavy rain on Saturday.

Organizers still want everyone to come out and have a good time — but be prepared to be flexible, in case wet or possibly severe weather necessitates changes in parking availability or performance schedules.

“The Air Show will open as planned, even if it rains, as long as it doesn’t present unsafe conditions for performers, participants and guests,” said Tom Harris, president of Alliance Air Productions, producer of the event and a nonprofit organization created by local developer Hillwood.

Here are some specifics to know:

Park patiently — The main issue with weather isn’t the planes, which are built to withstand the elements. The real conundrum is that much of the parking is on grassy fields surrounding Alliance Airport — fields that could become muddy bogs if the rain is heavy or persistent.

Before beginning your trip to the air show, check with the event’s official Facebook page and Twitter feed to see if parking plans have changed. It could be that backup parking lots may be needed for the event to prevent spectators from getting stuck in the mud, which means traffic officers at the even may direct you to an area where you weren’t expecting to go.

Protect your ears, and skin — Some of these planes are insanely loud as they fly over the crowd at Alliance Airport, and the shocking power of that audible noise is part of the fun of attending an air show. But if you or perhaps your child are especially sensitive to loud noises. bring your best set of ear plugs. If you forget your ear protection, there will be basic ear plugs for sale at the event for $2 a pair.

Also, even though not much sunshine is in the forecast this year, it’s always a good idea to bring sunscreen to the event since the airfield has very little shade.

Save a few bucks —General admission to the air show is free, but parking costs $30 to $40. If you want to save a few dollars, buy your parking tickets online before you get to the event. If you leave the air show but want to come back, show your parking stub or E-tix receipt and you can get back in at no additional charge.

What you can bring — Portable chairs, personal bags, umbrellas, strollers and wagons for kids, small coolers carrying lifesaving medicine (i.e. insulin) or baby bottles and empty water bottles are allowed.

What you can’t bring — Food and beverages, large coolers, canopies or tents, bicycles, skateboards, scooters or in-line skates and pets (except service animals).

Star-Telegram reporter Lena Blietz experiences aviation acrobatics for the first time, and brings along several cameras. Could you handle this flight? (Video produced by Lena Blietz)

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796; @gdickson
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