ONLY ON 3: Wilmington air show cancelled due to past complaints, disruptions

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Submitted: Sat, 02/16/2013 - 4:51am
Updated: Sat, 02/16/2013 - 4:07pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A thrilling event in the Cape Fear is no more. WWAY learned from leaders at Wilmington International Airport Friday its air show has been cancelled.

It’s aviation at its finest with roaring jets and acrobatics of all kinds. The Coastal Carolina Air Show at Wilmington International Airport has been a high-action treat for thousands from all of over the country. But ILM Director Jon Rosborough says the show, held every three years, is being grounded after past complaints and disruptions.

“It interferes with our commercial air space,” Rosborough said. “During the last two air shows, we had several flights delayed which was an inconvenience to our passengers and several of our passengers missed connections.”

Because the show features military jet teams, all air space is reserved for them, meaning other air traffic is stalled for up to two hours. “The airlines complained. The airlines have said you know you’ve caused us hardship,” Rosborough said.

During past shows, people have enjoyed not only the action in the sky but have also been able to tour some of the impressive aircrafts.

For pilot Matt Wade, going to the air show has been a family tradition since he was a little boy. He just learned today of the show’s cancellation.

“There’s always stuff for the kids with food in addition to the air show so it will be disappointing to lose that,” Wade said.

So Wade says he will resort to attending other air shows in the region. “If you’re willing to drive a couple of hours, there is always a good air show you can get to.”

The next Coastal Carolina Air Show would have taken place next year.


  • ChefnSurf says:

    Gee, you’d think Saffo and council (cronies) would have at least said something about the airport cancelling one of the big deals around here. Something that lots of Wilmingtonians are proud of and look forward to. However, unless I missed it, not one word.

    Oh well, I guess that’s understandable. Not a one of them can profit in some way from some sort of “downtown” real estate deal from the airshow.

  • Guest 10101 says:

    Overwhelmed by their lack of business, or their inability to attract new business, ILM management doesn’t want to mess with the one or two flights it might effect. That’s what happens when one or two flights are such a large percentage of their overall business.

    I love the Wilmington area, but the airport is a podunk airport with podunk management. ILM management’s brains are far too small to ever even think big, much less creatively.

  • exdem says:

    Possibly the traveling public could help out with this. We could all drive to Fayetteville, Raleigh, or Myrtle Beach to catch our flights, and eliminate the problems of delayed flights in Wilmington. This decision is short sighted, and damaging to an economy already hurting.

  • Guest111 says:

    I agree with you. So tired of sitting through red/green lights waiting on the limo with the queen in it that I’ve never heard of. I have to work for a living, I travel a lot in the county and it is a very big aggravation to me.

  • Mike Forte says:

    So minority rules once again. How sad and foolish. How about moving it to Brunswick County Airport or elsewhere. Guess that’s not an option. Just cancel it. Knuckleheads.

  • Charles Walters says:

    This is just a load of CRAP!!!!!! I grew up in Wilmington watching these shows and they were great. I remember everytime a flight came in the anouncers making a big deal over it and welcoming the people coming in to Wilmington, and wishing them a pleasent stay. How was this justified? It is not like Wilmington has dozens of flights every hour coming in, and the business the show brings to the city far more important than a bunch of jacka$$es who want to kill the fun that has been enjoyed for years. The citizens of Wilmington need to flood the airport with protests, and tell them just how much it pisses them off the wishes of a few is trying to kill the fun for the masses.

  • Guest 199 says:


  • guesty says:

    It frustrates me to have to wait through several cycles of a traffic light because the “queen” and her entourage are going somewhere.

  • Vog46 says:

    I went twice. Loved it both times, but as with other things once you see it once, its gets boring after.
    This is one item that brings to the forefront the economic conditions of our time and Seymor Johnson AFB is cancelling their’s because of budgets.
    Let it be cancelled for this year and let us remember the past ones fondly and hope that in future years it can come back to town.
    As for interfering with travel? I have to believe we can work around this air show as they do it in many other airports that are busier than ours.
    I will vote for a temporary cut to this display in the hope that our economy will improve to a point where this is no problem for them to put on and for us to attend, and for the airlines to not worry about.

  • Guest7969 says:

    am glad to know this! Now I can get a group of complainers together and put a stop to he Azalea Festival…that is a WEEK of aggravation and delays!

  • justin says:

    Surprisingly, no quotes from those grumpy airlines the ILM officials are saying put the skids on their show. My guess is ILM is in such financial straights that they can no longer AFFORD to host a show…too easy to blame the piddly one or two airlines still flying out of ILM. Nope, ain’t buying it one bit, and neither should the media.

  • IlmNative says:

    I was at the last ILM airshow and distinctly remember “pauses in the action” while commercial flights departed and landed.

  • wilmington217 says:

    I live right by the Airport and there isn’t anything we love more than these air shows. The ear piercing, house shaking Military jets are our favorite, so knowing we won’t be seeing it this year because this crappy airport, that THINKS it’s an international airport, doesn’t want it just sucks. First they cut down all the woods around the place, in the name of “homeland security”, which is such a joke, more like lighting and future dreams of expansion, but “security” is an easier way to avoid state wetland and local regulations. Once again this crappy airport is proving themselves to be a pompous kingdom on high looking down on us Wilmington residence as nothing but peasants in their grand “international” fairy tell dreams. I hate this crappy airpirt.

  • Guest28451 says:

    So why isn’t anyone crying about all the lost revenue from air show patrons?

  • Guest111 says:

    Please don’t wake the sleeping. Saffo has been very quiet since the baseball fiasco. Let him remain silent. The next thing you know he will want to build something worthless in the middle of the river. shhhhh

  • Guest123 says:

    Wow. so a few planes have to wait a little while. People passing through Wilmington!! Now all of us who live here and enjoy the air show every year have to go without because of a few whiners who don’t even live here? How it that right? The Airport authorities see every year how popular this event is, from the cars lined up along side the airport fence to the many hundreds who pay to come in and participate in the extra’s ! Can’t you leave those of us who live here something to look forward to that we all enjoy in these hard times.. we even make picnic lunches and put blankets on the grounds with our familie’s to enjoy relaxing and watching this wonderful air show. It’s a tradition. You don’t take away popular traditions because of a few very minor complaints. way I look at it is YOU put the happiness of those who LIVE here above those passing through.
    Here I sit day after day listening to all these new noisier planes coming near my home, never quiet anymore. so why not compensate those of us living close enough to the airport to never have quiet. ,if you are going to take away a show we invite friends and relatives to enjoy in our yard each year, those jets and planes we watch at the air show are beautiful, education, exciting and something to look forward to. The passengers passing through whining should have no say or pull in this town’s activities.
    Please rethink this decision. It’s flawed……….

  • scscuba1 says:

    Here in Daytona Beach normally we have two air shows a year. DAB is one of the busiest airports in the nation and never seems to be a problem with the flow of aircraft or pedestrian traffic. It only does so by good management of the air boss and the local traffic officers

  • B M says:

    Want a laugh, channel 6 news just said wilmington airport people wanted the county to give them 4.5 million loan for construction, they are off their rocker, the county doesn’t have any money, that money belongs to the taxpayer that the authority doesn’t want to be able to have an airshow, i.e., they want our money, just not our presence.

  • Guest6969696969 says:

    AIRLINES even “demand” that a “AIRSHOW cannot take place, after all KILM is/has been FUNDED via OUR tax-Dollars? (Federal)… Through FAA & DOT; *Grant Monies*… (yes I looked it up).

    YOUR taxes folks, now, WE are told We cannot have a AIRSHOW?
    I think “defunding” the “Airport” via OUR tax dollars would be a nice reversal…
    Then listen to everyone *Squeel* like a PIG coming off the FED .GOV teet…
    Let the airlines *fund* & maintain this “airport” them selves…
    Lets see how far THAT goes….

  • Larry Aultman says:

    I got a great idea!
    Let’s cancel the undedicated management of ILM and keep the air show !

  • Captain Ken says:

    Blame it on BUSH…Too many times a few BIG MOUTHS have attempted and usually get something cancelled. As for the parade on MLK day. Maybe, just maybe, there is a little racism in all the up roar. Anyone complain about the Saint Pats day parade. Air shows both the flying and the static displays are great fun for all generations. Let’s get a life and stop trying to stop fun events. Maybe the show could fly out of the USMC base at Little River and do their fly over here. The static displays could then be at ILM. Chicago has a huge air show and one of the busiest airports, O’Hare , in the country. Wonder how they can do it.

  • Guest22222222 says:

    A shame that ILM can not keep the tradition of flight in its own State. As a former commercial pilot I can tell you that many other “busier” airports and cities can function around events with ease among aerial demonstration teams. Coordinated schedules are the difference in delays and missed connections, which is something that the airlines know too well. This in my opinion shows a lack of will and interest on the part of the ILM airport committee and should be reconsidered.

  • AV8R says:

    Perhaps the folks at ILM need to chat with the folks at the Columbus Airport in Georgia, which also has scheduled air carrier service. During the show there, the Air Boss was aware of the airline schedule, got an inbound/outbound call from ATC, and suspended the airshow until the scheduled airliner landed/departed (this was even built into the behind-the-scenes flow schedule). TOTALLY transparent to the airline customers. The announcer played it up really well & kept the crowd entertained until the air show portion started again when the airliner was noo longer a factor. No brainer if you ask me.

  • Frequent Flyer says:

    Come on ILM. One weekend every three years and you can’t properly schedule to make this happen? We fly in and out of ILM for business at least four times a month and how many delays do we experience? Tons! How about the flight in December were we had an hour and a half delay on the tarmac because of mechanical issues…the real issue? There are no full time mechanics on duty to fix the problem… period! We had to wait for some contracted mechanic to wake up, get dressed and drive 30 minutes to come fix the plane. Maybe if ILM continued to host this type of big $$$, big attendance, beloved traditional event, they would be able to hire full time mechanics again! Delays .. “my you know what!”

  • B M says:

    Total B/S, there is no way with flow control and schedules 1 day every 3 years these guys can not coordinate an airshow and a couple of arrivals and departures, as a member of EAA 20 plus years ago I remember a discussion about “commercial” airspace, it’s all coming full circle now, socialist agenda. Other countries have had it, now it’s our turn, needless to say it’s a huge disappointment to see the airshow canceled, just more HOPE and CHANGE.

  • Guesttenheimer says:

    …a few measly flights around this long time event? The airshow is such a nice and exciting family event for this area. Always have to have a few whiney-butts to ruin it for everyone. It’s a shame, it’s lost revenue and it’s the loss of something a lot of us really look forward to attending. Why don’t they go ahead and kick out that two-bit, 50 cents “fair and expo” while they’re at it and REALLY make the little kids cry!

  • Guest 10101 says:

    Both of them?

  • Guest111 says:

    Airlines do fund and help maintain the airport. They pay taxes here and they pay fees to be allowed to land and take off from these runways. You folks are so uninformed. You are blowing smoke out of your ***. Airplanes do not come to ILM for free.

  • Guest Reply says:

    Those DANG jets were scaring Mr. LemLars hogs again were they?
    Those GOSH DAB Paratroopers…they made the most noise!!!
    Maybe we can get a Hang Gliders Air Show here instead. Nope…that would still be an event that would upset certain ones.
    Possibly…the noise was disturbing the Reality Shows filmed at Screen Gems…or the “Teen Mom 2″ type shows. Possibly the air turbulence from the jets swirled the air around too much from the “Do Do Factory” on 23rd Street across from ILM.
    Doesn’t say much for an International Airport…does it? Says a lot about Wilmington :-(
    I looked up Wilmington International Airport on Wikipedia…and it read…”No Air Shows Here”. It’s been changed!
    In reality…individuals that perform one of the most dangerous performance tactics in the skies, as we know it…and now you can’t even see it unless it’s on TV.

  • Mike Farrow says:

    I have been to several air shows at ILM where they HALTED THE AIR SHOW momentarily between acts to allow a commercial landing and that seemed to work so I’m not sure what’s going on here.

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    Can’t even manage a event hosted every 3 years? How much of a complete fail are you dweebs at ILM?

    Another poster says we don’t have money for such events… yes we do.
    Speak for yourself.

  • Brian says:

    It won’t be reconsidered. The airport management figures are paid too much money to actually have to worry about working, so they’re doing everything they can to ensure that they can earn their lucrative salaries without having to lift a finger.

  • B M says:

    If it’s just a matter of funding that’s easy, we’ll just get rid of the MLK parade that is meaningless and then if we need more cut out the Azalea festival, both of these events cause 10 times the delays and aggervations to the traveling public.

  • Guest_pilot says:


    You are wrong. Every time there is a scheduled flight, the airshow is temporarily suspended until the flight either lands or takes off. This is how it has always been. We are not being told the whole story.

  • Guest111 says:

    Anyone who doesn’t have the vocabulary to write with intelligence rather than name calling needs to hush up. Besides, I think, based on your attitude of I’m right and you are wrong, you are from the north. Go on back home.

  • Guest333 says:

    Guest111 is correct. At the last show, traffic was not delayed. We heard of no miss connections and everything was coordinated prior to the show…Just bad management at the airport, plain and simple. We are not talking about a tremedous amount of aircraft. ILM has very little air carrier traffic.

  • Guest111 says:

    point made . . excuse me

  • SMBeez says:

    I have attended airshows all over the world and as part of the U.S. Army even had the pleasure and luck of working a few.
    Let me explain something to you ignorant fool.
    Airshows do entertain, they also educate the public by using older aircraft that supported and defended our country. They allow people who would never have a chance to see aircraft up close, to learn and enjoy the strength and power of equipment that allows our everyday lives to exist as they do.
    As for for YOUR piddly vacation. plan around the airshow, IT IS scheduled 3 years in advance dunderhead.
    You say priority over play? Whose priorty yours!!! GIVE US A BREAK!!!

  • Guest111 says:

    When I plan a vacation and book a flight I plan ahead for a month or so based on my time schedule of flights. The airshows, as great as they are, interrupt scheduled flights coming in, therefore flights going out can’t make it because the plane for that flight couldn’t get in to ILM. Planes can’t get in or out. I enjoy the air shows as much as anyone else but I do understand the concern. If you planned something fun (not to mention for business) and you couldn’t go because someone was doing something else for fun and that blocked you, how would you feel? Not to mention safety. Things have changed in our world and the airline industry is one of the major changes. Sometimes priority takes precedence over play. Those of you who are upset, you will find something else to do and you will be fine, I promise.

  • SMBeez says:

    I am sure that the complaints were from those people who feel their lives are somehow more important than others. People with noses so high in the air if they went out in the rain they would drown!!
    This is a shame that the many have to suffer for the crying of a self-righteous few.
    The people at the executive level at the airport should hang their heads in shame!!! What’s next? Cancel the fair or circus? What a load of junk!!!!!
    BOO!!! to those that made this decision!!!
    I highly suggest that anyone who was considering to fly into or out of ILM take their business elsewhere, it is cheaper any way!!!!

  • Douglas Meyers says:

    It is a shame it has to Taken away from those of us that Love seeing and feeling the thrill of these fabulous machines. I am a videographer and this show has always been a highlight of my moving here from Los Angeles 3 years ago…

    Now I’ll have to move again… :(

  • Guestfellin says:

    SO you moved here because of an air show that takes place every 3 years? Must be rough.

  • Guest27272772 says:

    Whats next the Azalea Festival ?

  • Guest7969 says:

    can only HOPE!

  • NHHS Wildcat says:

    I’d take the air show over the Azalea Failure any day. A parade of flat beds and pick ups advertising strip mall business, an unknown supporting actress from a B movie filmed here as a queen, funnel cake, drunk fests, and Skynyrd in a parking lot ! Wow, can’t wait.

  • gueest says:

    No one has money to spend on these types of events.

  • Guest 211 says:


  • me says:

    My family has enjoyed this event for years, I just informed my son of the cancellation, he says “Wilmington suks” oh well..thank goodness for Seymour Johnston air show each year..and it’s FREE…cya Wilmy..thanx for a NO SHOW:(

  • Guest111 says:

    You are not a person who flies. You don’t understand being late here can cause delays like a domino effect down the line in other cities. If it is late leaving here it causes delay in the next city the plane is scheduled to go to. Some folks are on a tight time line to change planes and their schedule was based on how long they have to change planes in Charlotte or Atlanta. It’s not just Ilm involved, it’s the entire flight schedule of that aircraft for the day.

  • truthseeker says:

    The City of Wilmington can run a parade through downtown, arrest a local newsman and close busineses. The dummy airport cannot schedule flights around the air show which they have done in years past. In fact the crowds like watching the airliners landings. It delayed any actvities for appx.10 minutes from time the aircraft landed till off the runway. This is just another example of denying the many for a few grumbling passengers. Airport officials need to reconsider or reconsider finding another job!

  • william valli says:

    i am very very very disappointed that they are going to cancel the air show, because they cant or wont schedule flights around the show once a year. after all these years. ILM YOU STINK!!!!!!

  • Walter Moyle says:

    You’re right in more ways than you may know. We’ve become a nation of obedient slaves — and our masters are the corporations. It’s endless consolidation (banks, media, etc. all the way down to apartment complexes.) Yes, even apartments, like mine (Campus Walk) that ten years ago had a two page lease but now, after being taken over twice by ever bigger corporations has a near 20-page lease with bans against virtually everything except burping and farting. I thought Wilmington was great when I first moved here but now I’m ready to leave.

  • Guest1 says:

    As usual the MIGHTY DOLLAR speaks! There is no country
    better than ours but come on people, what is really
    HURT by a little DELAY!, or better yet, how hard would it be
    to schedule around the air show. BIG BUSINESS AIRLINES WIN AGAIN,
    and we lose out!

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    The “parades” around here suck beyond all belief…. Parades suck in general but Wilmington takes them to a whole new level.

  • Guest123 says:

    Say what you want about the Azalea Festival, but it brings in a lot of money to the city’s businesses. Anything that pumps money into our economy is fine with me. I enjoy air shows as much as the next person, but I have a feeling the Azalea Fest might bring a little more money to our area than the air show does.

  • Jerry says:

    I fly in airshows all over the country. They bring in huge amounts of revenue for the community thru tourism. They attract folks from all walks of life, both young and old, once a year who immensely enjoy them, yet Wilmington won’t accommodate them once every three years.

    I used to fly for the airlines. They always have advance knowledge of the schedules and the restrictions on airspace and can and do get permission to take off and land during airshows. The AirBoss, who is the traffic director during the events will halt performances for the short time it takes to launch or recover an airline and then continue the show if needed.

    This is just another short sighted PC move by Wilmington to appease the noisy few at the expense of the silent majority.

    When will we say “enough is enough” and quit catering to the squeaky wheel. We are losing ground in all areas of public entertainment because our elected officials don’t have the backbones to stand up for the entire community.

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