Charleston Air & Space Expo returns Saturday

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Aviation fans, get excited.

The free Air & Space Expo is back on Saturday for the first time since 2011.

The ramp at Joint Base Charleston looked more like an outdoor museum on Thursday with aircraft from every era.

"We'll have acrobatic aircraft, we'll have vintage aircraft, WWII-era, Vietnam-era aircraft—all of those will be on display," said Francisco Flores, expo director.

The fan-favorite The United States Air Force Thunderbirds cancelled their headlining performance this year. The six-pilot squad isn't ready to perform after one of their teammates died in a crash April 4 during a training flight at the Nevada Test and Training Range.

The Aeroshell Acrobatic Team is headlining in their place.

"It's a team of four and they will be performing aerobatics in front of the public with some smoke coming out and it's going to be great, it's a great headliner," Flores said.

Around 100,000 people are expected to attend the free event Saturday. Attendees will have the opportunity to sit inside some of the planes and meet the pilots.

Captain Jonathan Primeaux said there's plenty of room on his C-5 and beautiful views from the cockpit.

"The nose is going to open and the tail as well; we're going to drop both the ramps and everyone will be able to walk through," Primeaux said. "We actually can fit 18-wheelers on here. Six Greyhound buses can fit here in the plane."

Gates open Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. The airshow starts at 10 a.m.

Admission and parking are free and shuttles will take people back and forth.

The event will be held at 102 E Hill Blvd.

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