Atlanta Airshow to Host Air Force and Navy Jets this Weekend

Pilots of the Navy's F-35C Demonstration Team flank the Air Force F-35A Demo pilot at Dobbins ARB on Friday. (Charles A Atkeison)

ATLANTA — The first air show of the year in the middle south is this weekend as military jets and civilian aerobatics highlight the Atlanta Airshow in Peachtree City.

The U.S. Air Force F-35A and the Navy’s F-35C Lightning II jets will provide the thrust and high speed maneuvers on May 22 and 23. Civilian aerobatics include the Full-Throttle Formation Team and pilot Buck Roetman over Falcon Field.

Air show officials confirmed this week the addition of the Alabama Air National Guard’s F-16C Fighting Falcon to the line up. The F-16C Airfield Assault Demo is based at the 187th Fighter Wing near Montgomery.

An Air Force F-35A Lightning II arrives at Dobbins ARB, Atlanta FRiday afternoon PILOTED BY MAJ. KRISTIN “Beo” WOLFE. (Charles A Atkeison)

The public can also get an up close view of several warbirds located on static display. A P-51 Mustang and a B-17 Flying Fortress are just a few of the World War II-era aircraft on hand.

First Airshow Featuring Two Flying F-35 Variants

The two F-35 demonstration teams arrived into Dobbins Air Reserve Base near Atlanta a day before the show. The Atlanta Airshow will mark the first time the public will see full demonstrations of the F-35A and the F-35C during one air show.

“I always liked the inverted pass just because it’s weird as a pilot to be 300-feet off the ground and inverted looking at the tree tops,” F-35A Demo pilot Maj. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe told from the Dobbins ARB flight line. “I always liked the crowd pleasers like the tactical pitch at the end of the demo.”

The 2021 F-35A Demo Team featuring commander and pilot Maj. Krisitn Wolfe (center). (Charles A Atkeison)

Maj. Wolfe commands the F-35A Demonstration Team based at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Her father is a retired Air Force F-15C Eagle pilot and attended Stone Mountain High near Atlanta. Her family resides in the Georgia area.

For the pilots of the Navy’s F-35, their air show season will occur on days when they are not teaching future pilots. LT Dave Hinkle and LT Joe Calvi are each F-35C instructional pilots based at NAS Lemoore in California.

“Our squadron at Lemoore is an F-35C training squadron and we fill holes in our schedule to attend air shows,” LT Hinkle of Lemoore’s VFA-125 told AvGeekery on Friday. “Our mission is to train warfighters to get out to the fleet.”

Each jet team will also perform a patriotic tribute to the historic past of their branch of service.

The Air Force Heritage Flight will see the F-35A fly alongside an P-51D Mustang aircraft. The F-35C will fly with a historic F4U-4 Corsair during the Navy’s Legacy Flight.

Each jet aircraft demo team are being housed at Dobbins ARB this week. Located northwest of Atlanta, the air base has a strong history in supporting the military’s visiting aircraft.

“We are really proud to host these aircraft,” Dobbins ARB spokesperson 1st Lt. Alan Abernathy said. “The metro-Atlanta community is a strong supporter of Dobbins ARB; and we are happy to bring these aircraft here for an air show showcasing aviation and military aircraft.”

One of only ten flight worthy B-17 Flying Fortresses is scheduled to perform during the show. Air show guests can reserve a flight aboard the B-17 Texas Raiders for Saturday and Sunday for a truly historic ride.

Gates open at 9 a.m. each day with the opening ceremonies at 11:30 a.m. Single tickets and ticket packages remain available online and will not be sold at the gate.

(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)