TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Navy’s Blue Angels and many of the nation’s top military and civilian aircraft are poised to return this weekend to the skies over western Alabama for the Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show.
The two-day show is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, and will mark the Blue Angels fifth visit to Tuscaloosa during the last nine years. Tickets remain available for Title Towns’s first air show in three years, and will feature aircraft demonstrations, great food, and an aviation-themed kids zone.
“The Blue Angels deciding once again to come back to Tuscaloosa is a testament to our engaging, supportive community,” Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said. “The community, volunteers, and partnering agencies take great pride in our regional shows.”
The Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, also known as the Blue Angels, will headline the family event which will also feature several top performers, including aerobatic champion Rob Holland, Greg Koontz, the historic De Havilland DH-115 warbird, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Dozens of other aircraft will allow visitors to view static displays up close and even board a few.
The Blue Angels 40-minute demonstration by their six F/A-18 Hornets, will conclude each day’s performance schedule. Tuscaloosa Airport manager Jeff Powell is excited to have America’s Team back in the city. Smiling as we walked the flight line on Monday, Powell holds this show in the highest regard.
“The Blue Angels have been a great partner since the first Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show in 2009,” he said. “The squadron demonstrates the capabilities of our servicemen and servicewomen by producing one of the premier air show performances in the world. It is one of our key themes this year with the ‘The Greatest Show Above Earth’.”
The Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft has also been added to the shows lineup. Nicknamed the “Warthog”, the crew of this aircraft will demonstrate its handling capabilities near show center.
Near the end of their flight, the Warthog will join a P-51 Mustang to perform the crowd favorite Heritage Flight. This A-10C is based at Davis-Monthan AFB, in Arizona, and are fresh from their flight demonstration over the heart of Texas on Sunday.
Seven-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion and four-time World Freestyle Aerobatic Championship pilot Rob Holland will perform each afternoon. Rob is excited to not miss a beat this season as he pilots his MX2 aircraft in a dizzying array of aerobatics such as tumbling end-over-end.
“For our performers, we have focused on a schedule that appeals to all ages and activities throughout the air show grounds that provides a great experience for families,” Powell began. “One of our overall goals is to make this event something that guests of all ages can enjoy with our kid zone, static aircraft, and interactive displays, taste testing and sampling, and opportunities to meet a few of the pilots.”
The Kids Zone’s huge aviation-themed inflatables and a climbing wall will entertain children during the air show. A small one-time fee will allow each child unlimited use of the area for the day.
“The Tuscaloosa Public Library will also be on-site as well as the Home Depot to offer interactive activities with the kids,” Powell added. “From the air show itself, to the displays, to the activities- there’s something for the entire family.”
Gates will open to the public at 10:00 a.m. The static aircraft displays and the popular kids zone will also open at the same time. The national anthem and the first performance flights are scheduled to begin at noon.
Free shuttle service from three major parking lots will offer guests easy access to the airport each day. The former K-Mart parking lot, Tuscaloosa County High School, and Tuscaloosa Intermodal Facility Downtown Parking will each have buses ferrying guests to the air show beginning at 9:00 a.m.
(Charles A. Atkeison reports on aerospace and science. Follow his updates on social media via @Military_Flight.)