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Explosive Wings Over North Georgia to Host Top Military, Aerobatic Performers

The Air Force F-22 Raptor returns to Wings Over North Georgia Airshow October 13 and 14. (Atkeison)

ROME, Ga. — The combined power of the Air Force F-22 Raptor and the A-10 Thunderbolt II will headline the Wings Over North Georgia Air Show in October and include the additions of many new key performers in the air and on the ground, JLC Airshow Management announced on Monday.

Top military and civilian aircraft will scream across the north Georgia runway as fighter jets and aerobatic performers demonstrate gravity defying maneuvers. While on the ground, guests will receive an up close look and go aboard a few of the popular planes and helicopters on display.

“We will feature a few new performers while hosting many favorite acts from previous years,” JLC AirShow Management President John Cowman said. “Our line-up of world-class aviators positions our show to be the largest in the state for the 2018 air show season.”

Tickets are now available for the seventh annual autumn air show at Rome’s Richard B. Russell Airport on October 13 and 14. The popular northwest Georgia event will combine aviation, popular music, and great food into one family-fun weekend.

The Langley-based F-22 Raptor Demo Team returns to Rome in October. Major Paul “Loco” Lopez II is in the midst of his first season as the F-22 Raptor demo pilot. Major Lopez is the team’s first African-American pilot and will fly a nearly 30-minute performance at the air show site demonstrating the handling of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world.

The Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II will perform over north Georgia in October. (Atkeison)

The Air Force is also sending two A-10C Warthogs to Russell Airport to demonstrate the crowd favorite warbird. Based at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona, pilot Capt Cody “ShIV” Wilton will perform both low and high level maneuvers to showcase the Warthog’s combat capabilities.

Just added to the performers list is the explosive recreation of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as the Commemorative Air Force’s Tora Tora Tora‘s multi-aircraft performs each day. Their demonstration, using nine World War II-era aircraft dressed as Japanese Zeroes, will keep your attention as they present a historical account of the infamous attack using fireball explosions mixed with the audio of actual radio accounts of that day.

“This years show will be so awesome with the modern day military fighter jet presence and special effect pyrotechnics,” JLC AirShow Management Organizer Tina Talton said on Thursday. “There will be lots of boom, boom, boom and fireballs as these pilots demonstrate their aircraft capabilities”.

Talton acknowledged that last year’s air show hosted record breaking crowds exceeding 80,000 attendees over the weekend.

One performer proud of his team’s excellent safety rating is the industry’s first ground act. “Our team is enjoying our 39th year touring this great nation,” Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Car driver and team owner Bill Braack exclaimed with a smile. “We have more accident free years than all other ground acts combined. Our team is excited and honored to be returning to the North Georgia Airshow this October.”

The explosive performance of Smoke-n-Thunder’s Jet Truck and Jet Car will return to Rome. (Atkeison)

Aerobatic pilot Scott Farnsworth, 2016 world Air Race Champion and Reno National Air Race performer, will take to the skies each day to demonstrate his own style of aerobatics. A multi-aircraft rated pilot, Scott will perform in the Aero L-39 Albatros.

The power of this air show will also be created by the civilian performers who will take to the autumn sky to pump up the aviation fans. National champion Patty Wagstaff aboard her German-built EXTRA 300XL monoplane and Mike Goulian piloting his EXTRA 330SC will perform hardcore, low-level aerobatics before the crowds.

Wagstaff, a three time national champion who was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, said she is very focused to make every flight meaningful. “Every low-level performance and every maneuver is styled and executed to demonstrate the precision, artistry, and heart-stopping excitement of a perfectly executed aerobatic maneuver,” Wagstaff states with a nod and a smile.

(Charles 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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