Thunderbirds, Golden Knights to perform at Robins air show in May

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE — Robins Air Force Base has landed two major attractions for its next open house and air show this coming spring.

The Air Force's premier aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, and the Army's Golden Knights parachute team are scheduled to perform May 2-3 at the major event, which typically draws crowds in excess of 100,000.

Maj. Joseph Speight, the Robins project officer, returned from the International Council of Air Shows Thursday afternoon, He said he attended the annual Las Vegas conference to flesh out the Robins agenda for the two days.

"We were able to talk with a lot of different performers," he said, "although we don't know at this point what additional support we will have."

The acquisition officer said he hoped to land an additional Air Force single-ship demonstration team along with one from the Navy. The Air Force's newest fighter aircraft, the F-22, is high on his list along with vintage aircraft from World War II. Speight expects confirmation by February.

"We will also have static displays of aircraft either based at Robins or worked on here at the depot," he said. Robins is home for the Joint STARS ground reconnaissance aircraft. The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center performs extensive work on C-130, C-5 and C-17 cargo aircraft and the F-15 fighter.

The North Carolina native is expecting a huge turnout for the free program, the first base open house since May 2006.

"We had 90,000 people in 2006 for the Saturday show and only 30,000 on Sunday," he said. "But that Sunday was Mother's Day and the weather was bad. Hopefully, we'll have more than that at this one."

The two-day event serves as a huge fundraiser for many local groups, although details for participating next May are not yet available.

"That's something I need to get lined up," Speight said. "We'll have somebody working on that soon."