Skies roared over Augusta Regional Airport even louder than normal Monday as jets flew in perfect formation back-and-forth through the air going hundreds of miles an hour and flying just a few feet from each other.
This was just a teaser for the thrills and chills that are emblematic of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds who will be headlining the Augusta Air Show coming to the airport May 13-14.
The Thunderbirds have provided beloved aeronautic stunts for nearly 70 years, but Maj. Jake ”Primo” Impellizzeri described how they have completely redesigned their show.
“We’ve redesigned it to mirror like a Disney fireworks display,” he said. ”Between the music and narration, it’s more of a performance. It’s faster, it’s tighter. We put a lot more stuff in front of the crowd.”
Impellizzeri recalls watching the Thunderbirds as a kid in Cincinnati and how it feels to be the one bringing that inspiration to children today.
“Seeing those little kids out there, especially after the show when we go to the autograph line … if we can get that one kid to give the best portion of himself to something bigger than himself, than our mission is accomplished,” he said.
The air show will feature many more acts such as demonstrations from F-16 Vipers, attack helicopters and wing suit flyers.
Augusta Regional has not seen a show like this in several years. Augusta Mayor Garnett Johnson, who was at Monday’s preview, applauded the possibilities available for the airport and the surrounding area.
“This air show gives us a great opportunity to show off all of the wonderful things we’re doing in Augusta,” Johnson said. ”We have all of the tools here at this airport to accommodate your flying.”
Roads will be monitored to prevent nonpaying viewers from parking along the outer fence. Parking will be available right next to the seating and shuttles will be on site for handicapped guests.
Ticket prices and other relevant information is available online at augustaairshow.com.