Over 100,000 people are expected to come to the event.


Tampa, Florida - "Hopefully fly a precise and proud show," says Major Curtis Dougherty about this year's Thunderbird performance at Tampa Bay Airfest this year.

Pilots, event coordinators and participants are flying high with anticipation for this year's comeback mission: Airfest 2014.

"It was very touch-and-go whether we'd have one or not this year," says Vice Commander Andre Briere. Dougherty. "It hurt us as well to not fly in the aerial demonstrations last year."

The Tampa Bay Airfest Team had only three months to pull the event together, but they promise an incredible airshow.

"That's what is most fun about this aircraft -- how quick and snappy it is, how maneuverable it is. Its great to showcase that to the public: what our military aircraft can do," says Thunderbird Major Blaine Jones.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who comes from a military family, got to fly high with the Thunderbirds.

"Once I get that suit on, hear those engines go -- I'll get those butterflies. I can communicate with them on the radio in the mask. I'll probably tell them to crank it up," he says.

Organizers say this event will take off as it has in years past with over 100,000 people expected.

Officials say there are two command centers with 700 security forces fanned out across the property. Local law enforcement will be on standby as well for safety and security.

Here is what our viewers need to know:

  • Gates open at 8 am on Saturday and Sunday.
  • It's FREE admission and parking.
  • There are - for the first time ever - limited reserved seating tickets available for $15.
  • Coolers, glass containers, pets, fireworks, large tote bags are all prohibited.

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