April 10, 2010 11:37:00 PM
Allen Baswell - [email protected]
It will be "Aviation Excellence meets Southern Hospitality" when "Wings Over Columbus 2010" comes to the Columbus Air Force Base during the weekend of May 15-16.
Lt. Col. Andrew Mann of CAFB made these remarks at Wednesday''s meeting of the Columbus Kiwanis Club, which met at the Columbus Country Club.
"There will be plenty for everyone to do, and it will be free to the public," he said.
Mann said events scheduled for the weekend include flying exhibitions by the famed U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, who are scheduled to start their show both days at 3:30 p.m., concluding at 4:30 p.m.
"They will have a ground show at 3:30 p.m., and the air show will start at 4, and will last half an hour," said Mann.
The gates will open both days at 10 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m. Mann said visitors will enter from the main gate at the George "Happy" Irby Parkway. He said this is the first time in three years that CAFB has hosted an air show.
"This is the first time we have had a two-day show. Should we have good weather for both days, we are hoping to have more than 20,000 to show up for both shows," Mann said.
He said many of the visitors are coming from not only Columbus and Starkville, but also the surrounding area, including Tupelo and parts of Alabama. Mann added that Tuscaloosa, Ala., is hosting an air show the weekend of May 7-8, but they are charging admission.
Along with the Thunderbirds, flying groups with planes representing the World War II era, and calling themselves "Tora, Tora, Tora" will have a show both days. Representative planes from the Korean and Vietnam eras will also be on display and performing both days.
Mann said that "Wings Over Columbus" has set up a Web site, www.wingsovercolumbus.net, which contains information about the show, including performance times and other scheduled events.
Mann also noted that members of the Thunderbirds team, as well as the other flyers, will be speaking at area schools May 14.
"They want to get out in the community and educate the young people about these planes," he said.
He stated everyone at CAFB is looking forward to this event.
"It is going to be an exciting weekend, with many good shows," he said.
Allen Baswell is a former staff reporter for The Dispatch