UPDATE: Thunderbirds opposing solo Maj. Michelle “Mace” Curran will not perform with the squadron this weekend during the Robins Air Force Base Airshow.
“I am dealing with some back pain which has temporarily taken me out of the cockpit,” Mace said who is continuing in rehab. “You better believe I’m doing everything I can to get it sorted out ASAP.”
MACON, Ga. — The tight precision flying of the Air Force Thunderbirds and the dynamic flight of an F-22 Raptor will headline this weekend’s Thunder Over Georgia Airshow at Robins Air Force Base.
The air base’s first airshow in three years will include both military and civilian aircraft performing flight demonstrations. Near the flightline, static aircraft will be on display while several family-friendly events entertain and educate visitors during the two-day event.
“We’ve assembled an incredible array of aerial demonstrations and ground displays focused on providing an understanding of Air Force missions and military capabilities, as well as the skills and professionalism of its people,” Robins AFB Installation Commander Colonel Brian Moore said from the flightline on Tuesday. “The weekend will be chock-full of excitement, family fun, and patriotic activities.”
The Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, known as the Thunderbirds, is led by Lt. Col. John Caldwell aboard the Thunderbird 1 jet. The six demonstration pilots also include left wing pilot Maj. Will Graeff aboard Thunderbird 2, Thunderbird 3 right wing Capt. Michael Brewer, slot pilot Maj. Whit Collins in jet 4. Maj. Matt Kimmel will perform high speed dynamic passes as the lead solo.
“As the jets take to the skies and fly only a few feet from wing tip to wing tip, the crowd gets a glimpse of the awesome skills and capabilities that all fighter pilots must possess,” Thunderbird spokesperson Maj. Ray Geoffroy said. “The solo pilots integrate their own loud and proud routine exhibiting some of the maximum capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.”
Popular civilian pilots scheduled to perform include Clemens Kuhling aboard his ChefPitts bi-plane; aerobatic performer Julie Clark; and Matt Younkin piloting his Twin Beech. and Disabled American Veteran Flight Team and their B-25 Mitchell bomber.
The U.S. Air Force Rapid Strike, a full motion simulator ride free to the public, will make its appearance at Thunder Over Georgia. Visitors can experience an F-22 Raptor flight, a C-17 cargo mission, and then move into a special operations ground strike all from your point-of-view.
The popular Kids Zone will allow youngsters to experience a military-style boot camp obstacle course, or climb the massive rock wall. Gates open at 9:00 a.m. both days and the opening ceremony is scheduled to begin two hours later. General admission and parking are free to the public in most areas.
Robins officials note that on-base parking is not available to non-military card holders. The air show will support several off-base parking lots to accommodate the general public with a shuttle bus running between the airshow and the lots.
Robins officials add, “People arriving from I-75 South may park at Middle Georgia Regional Airport on Airport Drive. Guests arriving from I-75 North should take Exit 149 for Middle Georgia Regional Airport on Avondale Mill Road.”
(Charles Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)