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Atlanta Airshow to Host Military and Civilian Aerobatic Performers

Air Force F-22 Raptor will perform October 13 and 14 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Charles Atkeison)

HAMPTON, Ga. — The only air show to be staged from a sports stadium will make its return next weekend as popular military and civilian aircraft perform over and inside the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The second annual Atlanta Airshow will feature top jets from the U.S. Air Force, and include several of the nation’s civilian aerobatic pilots performing above the world’s only Aerial Stadium. The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and Fairchild Republic A-10C Warthog will headline the two-day show on October 13 and 14. Gates will open at 10 a.m. and the first flights will begin at noon.

The A-10C Thunderbolt II, aka the Warthog, will perform at the Atlanta Airshow. (Charles Atkeison)

“We’re looking forward to featuring the F-22 Raptor at the Atlanta Air Show at Atlanta Motor Speedway,” Chris Dirato, Director of Public Relations, said on Wednesday. “The Raptor’s performance defies imagination as it does back flips and stands motionless in mid-air.”

Piloted by Major Paul “Loco” Lopez, the F-22 Raptor is the only operational fifth-generation fighter aircraft. The popular 21st century stealth jet will demonstrate many of its thunderous maneuvers at low altitude.

“We can’t wait for Major Lopez to showcase the full capabilities of the Raptor,” said Dirato. “Fans will clearly see how it can’t be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft.”

Comedic aerobatic stunt pilot Kent Pietsch is returning for the second year of the Atlanta Airshow. Last September Kent made airshow history as he performed a rare landing inside a stadium during an air show. He hopes to do it again on the short runway of the racetrack.

Kent will attempt to perform a touch-and-go maneuver a top a speeding RV inside the stadium. He will then hold his position for only a few seconds before taking off before the RV makes its own turn at the end of the raceway. Kent will have only seconds to execute the maneuver.

Kent Pietsch will try to land his aircraft a top an RV inside Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Charles Atkeison)

Outside the stadium several historic and commercial aircraft will sit on static display for guests to observe. Special military and aviation-themed events are also scheduled during the air show.

Tickets remain available online and will also be sold at the gate each day. The Atlanta Motor Speedway is located 29 miles south of Downtown Atlanta. Follow I-75 south to the Tara Blvd. exit and travel south to Speedway Blvd.

Air show officials state that unlike NASCAR races which are held at the stadium, there will be no tailgating or loitering allowed in the parking lot during both days. The aircraft aerobatic box is one reason for the rule which will be enforced.

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


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Charles Atkeison

Written by Charles Atkeison

Charles A Atkeison is a long time aerospace journalist having covered both military and civilian aviation, plus 30 space shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral. He has produced multimedia aerospace content for CNN, London's Sky News, radio, print, and the web for twenty years. From flying with his father at age 5 to soaring as a VIP recently with the Navy's Blue Angels and USAF Thunderbirds, Charles continues to enjoy all aspects of flight.

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