WARNER ROBINS -- The air show at Robins Air Force Base is still three months away, but organizers sought Monday to whet appetites for the event.
Lt. Col. Dwayne Gray, who is in charge of the show for the base, said many notable acts have signed on, and more are interested. With other air shows for the year being cancelled, he said he has been taking many calls from acts wanting to fly in the Robins show.
“It’s mushrooming into one of the best air shows in the country this year,” he said.
The show is set for April 28-29.
Gray even predicted the weather, based on the historical average for those dates, which is a high of 78 degrees and a 30 percent chance of rain, with an average of only a tenth of an inch falling when it does rain.
He said there will be a wide variety of aircraft from all eras.
“No matter what age generation of those coming for the air show, we will put a lump in their throat with the aircraft we will have,” he said.
The highlight of the show will be the Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team. Although he said it’s not “set in stone,” it’s also likely an F-22, the most advanced fighter in the world, will be there for a demonstration.
“It’s amazing what this plane can do in an air show,” he said. “Very few people have seen this up close and personal, so this is a golden opportunity for people in Middle Georgia.”
He said the show will include a number of simulators, including one based on the new movie “Red Tails,” about the Tuskegee Airmen. The show itself is free, but there is a cost for the simulators.
He made the comments to members of the media and community leaders at an event held at the Museum of Aviation.
In an era in which the military is facing steep budget cuts, some have questioned the expense of demonstration teams such as the Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds. Gray said regardless of budget concerns, the military still has to recruit new members, and air shows are one of the most cost-effective ways of doing that.
He also noted the pilots deploy to combat zones and perform for the teams on a rotational basis, so if they weren’t flying the shows, they would have to do training flights where the expense would be about the same, only no one could see it.
“There is always that next generation you will have to bring up,” he said. “They have found out almost 80 percent of people joining the military have been to an air show. For bang for your buck, an air show is the way to go.”
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.