Once again the Ft. Lauderdale Air & Sea Show has drawn record crowds and has been billed as "the greatest show above the Earth." Held on May 4th and 5th, 2002, the show has reportedly become the largest spectator event in the world. The photos below were taken from A1A and the sixth floor of the Holiday Inn (overlooking show center).

The show officially begins at noon with the playing of the National Anthem as a U.S. Army Golden Knight parachutist flying the American flag descends while acrobatic aircraft circle around him. It's a beautiful sight under the bright South Florida sun.

The 482nd Fighter Wing Honor Guard from Homestead Air Force Reserve Station performing precision drills. Despite the heat and those dark uniforms, they never missed a beat.

A Navy F-14 Tomcat takes to the skies making both high and slow speed passes. In the background is the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75), which was berthed at Port Everglades for Fleet Week. I had an opportunity to tour the Truman a few years ago... let me tell you, that is one LARGE ship.

The Air Force's F-15 Eagle also put on a demonstration this year, just as it has in all previous years. The Eagle is a magnificent bird, and those twin Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines let out quite a roar when the afterburners kick in.

Another return visitor this year was the F-117A Nighthawk, the U.S. Air Force's stealth fighter. Also in attendance was the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the Marine's AV-8B Harrier II.

Bill Reesman took his bright red Russian MiG-17E, dubbed the "Red Bull," through beautiful (and demanding) 8-g maneuvers.

Kermit Weeks, founder and owner of the Fantasy of Flight Museum in Polk City, FL, takes his B-25 Mitchell, the "Apache Princess," for a bombing run past show center. Just to the left of the barge you can see a splash from one of Kermit's trademark bombs... a large watermelon.

A B-52 Stratofortresses strategic bomber makes a pass high over the beach. First flown in 1954 and entering service in 1955, this old workhorse is expected to still be flying in 2045 thanks to upgrades with modern technology.

A pair of B-1B Lancers, the backbone of America's long-range bomber force, demonstrate their variable-geometry wings, a capability which allows them to fly slowly when extended for short take-offs and landings, or swept back for super sonic flight.

The B-2 Spirit stealth (or "low-observable") bomber is America's most high tech bomber. And with a price tag of over half a billion dollars each, it is also the most expensive.

American Airlines gave us a look at their newest and oldest aircraft. The Boeing 777 on the left is following a Boeing 727, the latter of which is the last in AA's fleet and will be retired from service after the air show. The 777 has two massive engines, larger in diameter than the fuselage of the 727.

Along with the Army's Golden Knights, the U.S. Air Force's STARS (Special Tactics and Rescue Specialists) Parachute Demonstration Team dropped in for a visit. They specialize in unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, psychological operations and rescuing downed pilots. Their motto: "First there that others may live."

Dropping in to the drink are three Pararescuemen from the U.S. Air Force's pararescue demonstration team. The "PJs" made quite a splash with the crowd. (Special thanks to PJ Robert Smith for submitting corrections to this page.)

Each branch of the U.S. Military has displays featuring their equipment and personnel. Seen here is your humble webmaster standing in front of an (almost) life-size Marine drill sergeant.

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2001 Ft. Lauderdale Air & Sea Show Photos

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2002 Ft. Lauderdale Air and Sea Show Photos
Copyright © 2002 by Thomas R. Pasawicz. All rights reserved.