Air show to celebrate Air Force's birthday

Special to the Clayton News Daily

PEACHTREE CITY - Peachtree City will host the largest military flying demonstration in Georgia this year, thanks to the United States Air Force and the 10th edition of The Great Georgia Airshow (GGAS.)

The air show, produced by the Kiwais Club of Peachtree City and the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing, will be presented Saturday and Sunday, Oct.13-14, at Falcon Field, in Peachtree City. According to sponsors, it will showcase an "unprecedented array of modern military aircraft."

The event is special this year, because the U.S. Air Force is observing its 60th anniversary as a separate military service, which occurred on Sept. 18, 1947.

A series of monthly events will culminate in Air Force Week Atlanta, Oct. 8-14, with The Great Georgia Airshow being the concluding event.

The official kick-off was held at the Georgia State Capital building in February, when Gov. Sonny Perdue welcomed the "Heritage to Horizons" Air Force theme celebration to Georgia.

Atlanta was one of only six cities selected by Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, to host an Air Force Week. Other cities or regions are St. Louis, Sacramento, Phoenix, Honolulu, and New England.

In keeping with the spirit of the "Heritage to Horizons" theme, the CAF Dixie Wing will showcase its growing collection of vintage World War II and Korean War-era aircraft.

The organization, based in Peachtree City, is the Georgia chapter of the Commemorative Air Force, an international, non-profit group dedicated to restoring and flying vintage American military aircraft.

Rides will be available for purchase in CAF Dixie Wing planes, including a P-51 Mustang, one of the best fighters of its day.

"[This year] is an exciting milestone for aviation in Georgia," said Jerry Cobb, GGAS Airshow Director and retired Air Force veteran. "Not only is the Air Force celebrating its 60th birthday, but it has been 100 years since the first powered flight occurred in the state.

"The Commemorative Air Force was also founded 50 years ago this year, while the CAF Dixie Wing was chartered 20 years ago in 1987."

Scott Slade, of WSB Talk Radio, will serve as the air show announcer for the tenth consecutive year.

"The Great Georgia Airshow is more than an air show," Cobb said. "We feature educational displays and kids' activities. Vendors will also be selling arts and crafts, souvenirs, and food. To cap off our Saturday program, we will host a gala dance, with a silent auction and buffet dinner at the CAF Dixie Wing Historical Airpower Facility.

"We host one of Peachtree City's premier events," Cobb said. "More importantly, we are proud that The Great Georgia Airshow will showcase the city, while also benefiting the quality of life in our community."

Proceeds from the air show and gala dance will benefit local, non-profit organizations, including school groups and scouting, through the Kiwanis Club of Peachtree City. Kiwanis is a global service organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time.

Advance tickets can be purchased at selected Kroger stores or online at www.aircraftspruce.com. Ticket prices are: adults, $13; children, ages 6-12, $5; children age 5 and below, free. After Oct. 12, tickets will also be available at the gate: adults, $18; children, ages 6-12, $7. Gala tickets can be purchased separately for $50.

Gates open at 9a.m., with aerial performances from 1-5 p.m. For more information, visit www.thegreatgeorgiaairshow.com or contact (770) 632-0365.