Aerial Acrobatics: 2023 Chicago Air & Water Show at Gary/Chicago Airport

August 21, 2023

A Weekend of Aerial Wonders

This past August, the Gary / Chicago International Airport (GCIA) was once again the center of attention, hosting the thrilling 2023 Chicago Air and Water Show. This event, a highlight of Chicago’s summer, turned the skies above Gary, Indiana, into a canvas of breathtaking aerial acrobatics and precision.

GCIA – The Heart of the Air and Water Show

Since 1999, GCIA has proudly served as the staging ground for this spectacular event. This year was no exception, with the airport bustling with energy as it prepared for a weekend filled with sky-high performances.

Star Performances in the Sky

The show’s lineup was nothing short of spectacular, featuring some of the best in aerial performance:

  • U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds: Their first appearance since 2018, these pilots dazzled the crowds with their synchronized flying and awe-inspiring formations.
  • U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights: Displaying incredible skill and precision, the Golden Knights captivated onlookers with their expert parachuting.
  • A Rich Array of Military Might: The skies also roared with the power of the US Air Force F-16 Viper Demo Team, the US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet “Rhino” Demo Team, and several other military marvels.

A Spectator’s Delight

For those watching from the GCIA parking lot, the experience was uniquely immersive. Spectators got a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of the takeoffs and landings, adding an extra thrill to watching these skilled performers take to the air.

Civilian Acts That Dazzled

The show wasn’t all military might; civilian performers also took center stage:

  • Aerobatic Experts: Names like Susan Dacy, Bill Stein, and Rob Holland showed off their aerobatic prowess, painting the sky with daring moves.
  • Local Heroes: The Chicago Fire Department Air/Sea Rescue and the Chicago Police Department helicopter demonstrated their vital roles in emergency and rescue operations.

More Than Just an Airport

As the weekend’s festivities wound down, it was clear that GCIA is more than just an airport. It’s a community hub, a place where the excitement of aviation can be shared and celebrated by all.