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Big Stars Missing, But Air Show Still Has Lots Of Thrills

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WBBM's Terry Keshner takes a ride with the Lima Lima Flight Team practicing for the Chicago Air & Water Show.

WBBM’s Terry Keshner takes a ride with the Lima Lima Flight Team practicing for the Chicago Air & Water Show.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Government budget cuts mean there are no Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, or Golden Knights at this year’s Chicago Air & Water Show, but there will be plenty to see.

RELATED: Complete Guide To Air And Water Show

The All-Veteran Parachute Team, which is made up of 10 active or retired military parchutists, will make its debut; as will the British Aerospace Sea Harrier jet; a Vietnam-era A-4 Skyhawk jet; the Aerostars aerobatic team; and the Geico Skytypers, flying six vintage aircraft from World War II.

The popular AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle, the Lima Lima Flight Team, the Firebirds Delta Team, Matt Chapman Airshows, Bill Stein Airshows, and Dave Dacy in the Super Stearman will also be back.

Air Show announcer Herb Hunter watched practice from the Gary Jet Center on Thursday, getting ready for the big weekend.

“It’s the heart and soul of the City of Chicago. I think it goes back to the reason for the show for the Park District kids 55 years ago give them something come and do out in the summer and something to look up to, come out and dream about,” he said.

Lima Lima aerobatic team pilot Brian McCann, of Oak Park, is one of those whose expertise in the cockpit fuels those dreams.

He talks about flying in tight formation with his five other crew members.

“In theory, if I move forward my wing should just clear the two on either side and if I move left or right I just clear the tail of the airplane ahead of me,” he said.

It’s imposing, such precision, miles high above Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago, but McCann jokes, “you have an incentive to pay attention. … I’m looking out for myself.”

The city of Chicago expects 2 million people to come out and watch this Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along the lakefront, from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the center point.