Experience The Chicago Air and Water Show From A New Perspective This Year

Written by Kristen Rogers
August 8, 2018

Last Updated on January 13, 2022 by Boatsetter Team

Propel your show experience from a new perspective with Boatsetter

Originating in the summer of 1959, this fun-filled family event is one of the largest and oldest free admission air and water exhibitions in the United States. In fact, 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the Chicago Air and Water Show. Every year millions span across the beachfront of Lake Michigan to secure their spot for the two-day festivities on August 18th and 19th. Celebrate this significant year of the waterfront festival from a completely new perspective, the waterway. Boatsetter has an incredible Chicago fleet to make your Air and Water experience one to never forget.

Where to watch the action

Although performances will be taking place high in the sky, the best place to catch all of the action is at North Avenue Beach – from Fullerton Avenue to Oak Street. Instead of being cramped up in the crowd of the waterfront, the best seat in the house is out on the water of Chicago’s Playpen. Boatsetter can propel your experience to new levels. Rent one of the incredible vessels in the Chicago fleet and cruise through the wide-open waterway while the rest of festival goers cramp up on the crowded beach. Show attendees can have an entirely new experience by gathering up a group of friends, renting a boat and enjoying performances. Soak up the sun, breathe in the crisp lake breezes and feel the rumble of jet engines soaring overhead.


Every year there are exceptional performances put on by the incredible fleet of both military and civilian teams. Performers will take flight high in the sky each day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. While the program is the same both days, a schedule of performers is not set, as pilots decide the order and times they take off on the day of the event. You can, however, count on the headliners performing last. 2018 headliners include

  • U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds,
  • U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights, and the
  • U.S. Navy Parachute Team Leap Frogs.

Catch all of the spectacular demonstrations by military and civilian aircraft’s, boats, and diving and parachute teams.

Military Teams

Aside from the headliners, the military teams that will be performing are: C-130 Hercules, KC-135 Stratotanker, P-51 Mustang, T-38 Talon, U. S. Navy F-18, U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, and the F-35 Heritage Flight.

Civilian Teams

Numerous skilled civilian pilots who have trained, and logged more hours than average, will propel through the sky to show off just how extraordinary the art of flight can be. The Civilian performances will include: AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Aerostars, Sean D. Tucker & Team Oracle, Bill Stein Aerosport, American Airlines 787-8, The Firebirds Delta Team, Matt Chapman Air Shows, Rob Holland, Susan Dacy in the Super Stearman Model 70, A-4 Skyhawk Jet Demo and P-51 Mustang, Chicago Fire Department Air/Sea Rescue, and Chicago Police Department Helicopter.

Head over to Navy Pier at the shores of Lake Michigan on August 18th and 19th to see all the action. The National Anthem starts promptly at 10 a.m. and the event lasts until 3 p.m. Additional event information and details about the Chicago Air and Water Show can be found here!

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