BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The Cocoa Beach Air Show is returning April 17-18, the first time in more than a decade and in the midst of the pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • The Cocoa Beach Air Show is scheduled for April 17-18

  • This year's show is the first in Cocoa Beach since 2012

  • The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will participate in the event

  • Organizers plan to observe practices to keep spectators safe from COVID

One of the headlining F-16 pilots — Major Jason Markzon — from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flew in Monday afternoon to begin planning for his team's 2021 performance.

"It's fun to be out here on the Space Coast," Major Markzon said shortly after landing at Patrick Space Force Base.

Markzon is excited for the show, even in these difficult times.

"We hope it's a nice, normal season that we can go to an air show every weekend," he said.

Cocoa Beach has not had an air show since 2012.

"You can reserve a little piece of beach for your group," Brian Lilley of the Cocoa Beach Air Show said.

Organizers are taking extra precautions during this pandemic, with special areas called “sandboxes,”, or taped off areas from where small groups can view the show.

"Eliminate points of convergence, a whole series of them, and they all work very well," Lilley said. "So we are confident they will do so then."

The show is also “credit-preferred” to cut down on the spread of germs.

Plus mask wearing when patrons can't be six feet apart.

Markzon said he hopes his team puts on a good show for people enjoy during these difficult times.

"We are going to put on a great show, and we hope everyone comes out and has a great time," he said.

The Thunderbirds will also fly over the Daytona 500 this weekend.