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"Officials tighten security, change ground rules at Florida air show"
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- Subject: CAA: GA News, "Officials tighten security, change ground rules at Florida air show"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2003 20:23:45 -0800
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Monday, March 17, 2003
Officials tighten security, change ground rules at air show
The Charlotte (FL) Sun-Herald
PUNTA GORDA -- The Florida International Air Show is a go, no matter what
the world situation is -- although there will be changes in security and
ground rules on show days.
"I have been reassured that the Blue Angels, the stealth plane and everyone
else will still come, even if we go to war (with Iraq)," said Robert "Bucky"
McQueen, air show president, on Thursday.
More sheriff's deputies will be patrolling the grounds of the Charlotte
County Airport, where the event will take place March 22-23, and will be
providing security at the entrance gate. Those attending should also be
prepared to have their purses, knapsacks and camera bags searched before
"We are comparable to any airport in the country and take the same security
precautions," said Lt. Peter Sbarbori of the Charlotte County Sheriff's
For the first time, a parking charge has been added. Every vehicle, other
than the Blue Angels and those with business passes and VIP passes, will be
charged $2 at the gate when they present their admission tickets.
According to McQueen, the parking area has been expanded to allow more cars
to park on the grass and avoid parking on roads. Not only do organizers
expect in excess of 100,000 people at the show, they also expect to be able
to clear the grounds in less than an hour after the show is over.
"My record is 38 minutes," Sbarbori said.
Air show officials want to remind attendees that if they bring large
coolers, they must be left in their vehicles, and no animals other than
sight-assist dogs will be allowed inside the fence at the airport.
"Small coolers will be permitted because often people have special dietary
needs. People who bring their babies have to carry baby food and milk;
diabetics will need to keep their insulin cool or carry a special sugar
supplement drink," Sbarbori said.
During the afternoon, certain roads will be closed to allow the acts to fly.
And, at the end of the show, all roads out will be one-way.
"We have been told that we have the tightest perimeter security of any air
show and we are proud of that," the lieutenant said.
Sbarbori also wanted to remind smokers there is no smoking on the tarmac.
"If you light up, you will be asked to extinguish the cigarette and if you
do not, you will be asked to leave. Smoking is allowed on the other side of
the fence," he said.
The air show, billed as the "Centennial of Flight," will feature a
performance by the Pensacola, Fla.-based U.S. Navy Blue Angels as well as an
F-117 stealth fighter fly-by both days; a C-130 JATO Fat Albert; command
parachute, A-10 and F-16 demonstration teams; Iron Eagles; a Wright Brothers
B Flyer replica; and aircraft from World War I, World War II, the Korean
Conflict, the Vietnam War and Desert Storm.
Gates will open at 8 a.m. both days. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the
gate for adults and $4 in advance, $5 at the gate for children under 12.
Tickets are available at SunTrust Banks and Shell stations from Bradenton to
Naples; Hooters restaurants in Port Charlotte, Venice, Sarasota and Fort
Myers; and area Chambers of Commerce.
About 80,000 people attended last year's show, raising $95,000 for charity.
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