An enormous crowd gathered on the beach and boardwalk as thousands of pairs of eyes turned skyward, and they were rewarded with a spectacular display of speed and power.
The breath-taking daredevil acrobatics of the U-S Air Force Thunderbirds capped off what appeared to be a record-setting Atlantic City Air Show Wednesday afternoon.T
hey twisted, turned and flew in formation where their wings appeared to be just inches apart over the heads of up to 800,000 spectators. They crowded the beaches and boardwalks from Brigantine to Ventnor.
It was exactly what officials were hoping for when the air show started in 2003 as an attraction to bring in midweek tourism.
"You can't find a room tonight. It helped to make Atlantic city a destination for tourism," N.J. Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson.
It is the largest midweek, over-water air show in the country.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team kicked off the excitement, with both vintage and modern aircraft showing off for the crowds and sparking memories for veterans.
"I like the corsairs and TBF's from back in my time," said Russell Collins, "WWII".
"I'm a marine," said Al Pollard, who had a lot of memories.
The F-18 was also a crowd favorite.
And even if they couldn't name all the aircraft, the spectators agreed it was one fantastic show.
"I think it's really cool to see them go upside down," said Samara Kass.
It was a wonderful day for an air show, and it was good for the restaurants and tourism, keeping the economy souring along with the planes.