For the second year in a row, the Black Diamond Jet Team will take flight at the Lehigh Valley Airshow.
After last year’s aerial performers helped draw more than 40,000 spectators and $52,000 in revenue, the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority announced Tuesday that the four-plane team is returning for an encore.
“The Black Diamonds were a hit with young and old spectators alike, and we are thrilled to have them perform at the Lehigh Valley Airshow for the second year in a row,” said Charles Everett, authority executive director.
This year’s air show is scheduled for Aug. 23 and 24, and airport authority members are hoping to build on last year’s success.
The August 2013 show was the first aerial performance held at Lehigh Valley International Airport since 1997, and with clear skies, it pulled in larger-than-expected crowds.
There were so many visitors that organizers had to switch from wrist bands to hand stamps to get people through the entrance gates more quickly.
The popularity of last year’s event prompted organizers to raise prices for this year’s show.
Skip Lehman, president of Mach2 Management, which is running the event for the second year, said advance tickets cost $15 for adults and $9 for children. And for those buying tickets at the gate, the cost will be $18 for adults and $12 for children.
New this year, Mach2 Management will offer a limited number of “backstage passes.” For $100, spectators can learn the details of what goes into a four- to five-hour air show.
“It’s a sneak peek under our tent to see how it all works,” Lehman said.
Air show organizers have said that the parking and concession problems at last year’s event have been resolved.
A construction project that limited parking at the airport last year has been finished, allowing up to 10,000 cars to be parked on site, and the unforeseeable, last-minute change in concessionaire services last year is not expected this time around.
For Jared Isaacman, owner and operator of the Black Diamond Jet Team, returning to the Lehigh Valley is somewhat of a coming-home party.
“Last year was a dream come true for us,” said Isaacman, who flies the right wing position.
“You’re going to be very hard-pressed to find anything better to do that weekend,” said Isaacman, who is CEO of Harbortouch, a Hanover Township, Lehigh County, company that sells, leases and maintains credit card, touch screen, point-of-sale and ATM machines.
Lehman said he has put together many air shows, including an upcoming show to mark the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, but very few compare to the Lehigh Valley venue.
“If you give us two days of weather like we had last year, we will give you one of the best air shows in the world,” Lehman said.