The annual Great Georgia Air Show wrapped up a dynamic weekend highlighted by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels despite rain and low clouds on Sunday which forced the cancellation of multiple aerobatic demonstrations.
The air show‘s Friday full practice and Saturday performances were both successful highlights prior to the arrival of storm clouds southwest Atlanta on Halloween night. Air show officials determined early Sunday that weather would not allow for aerobatic flight over Falcon Field.
“An air show is an outdoor event and weather has its own mind,” Air Show Director Tony DellaTorre stated on Monday. “Our decision to not cancel was based on the decision we shared with (guests) in our communications throughout Saturday. If there was no unsafe weather, we would remain open. We had over 10,000 pre-sold tickets to Sunday and we wanted to provide those guests with the best experience they could have by providing as much entertainment as possible.”
Despite a lower than allowable cloud ceiling and the threat for thunderstorms over the airfield on Sunday, air show organizers made the best of a wet situation. The Blue Angels reorganized their flight demonstration into signing autographs for hundreds of spectators and posing for pictures in front of their blue and yellow jets.
The Blues then departed in rapid fire fashion in the early afternoon to outrun an approaching severe weather system. As the last Blues jet departed the airfield, a wall of fire exploded parallel with the runway providing a majestic sendoff to America’s Naval Pride.
“Oh my goodness, my children and I had a great time meeting two of the pilots from the Blue Angels,” exclaimed Sandy Wallace, mother of three, from Peachtree City. “We were here on both days and it was a fun experience.”
The wet runway also kept Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Car pilot Bill Braack from performing on Sunday with his team noting the costly threat of slick conditions and high speeds approaching 400 m.p.h. Braack’s team will look toward their 2016 season as they return to the west coast.
Guests both young and old climbed aboard the massive C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft and were allowed to sit in the cockpit. Several areas of the air show were devoted to providing a strong interest in the growing field of aviation.
“Air shows drive interest in the aviation industry; a large need in Georgia,” DellaTorre said. “Not only interest in flying, but FAA jobs, mechanics, aviation photography, and electronics, engineering, and more. Our air show focused heavily on bringing STEM education to our youth.”