UPDATE: Base to open doors for air show in Columbus

By Chris Wilson/Monroe Journal

AMORY – A former pilot of the elite Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s precision flying team, spoke to Amory Rotary Club members recently, inviting everyone to the Columbus Air Force Base’s air show and open house.

Lt. Col. Rob Skelton talked about the economic impact that Columbus Air Force Base has on the entire region, including Monroe County.

Skelton is in charge of the base’s Wings Over Columbus 2010 Air Show and Open House which is set for May 15-16. The free show entitled “Aviation Excellence Meets Southern Hospitality” will feature not only the flying Thunderbirds, but also the U.S. Army Golden Knights which are a parachute jump team, a demonstration of the C-17 Airlift plane and acrobatic shows. Among the featured air events are the Tora, Tora, Tora – WW II Heritage fliers, a group of retired airmen who fly World War II era planes and do a reenactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor, complete with ground pyrotechnics.

There will also be other vintage planes on hand, including a T-33 Korean era plane and a MiG-21 Vietnam era plane.

Besides the flying aircraft, there will be several types of military aircraft on ground display. Other ground exhibits will include Army and Air Force recruiting displays, a boating safety display, Kids Zone and a display from the National Weather Service.

There will be food and beverages available for purchase. Do not bring coolers, pets or backpacks.

This is the first air show the base has hosted since 2006.

Visitors can enter the air base from the main gate from Hwy. 45 with gates opening at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. All aviation acts will perform both days.

Besides all of the special performances, Skelton said visitors will get to see what it is like on the pilot training base that is home to about 400 to 500 pilots in training. The purpose of the air show is to say thank you to the communities in the region that support the base and its families and to maybe also inspire the next generation of airmen or soldiers or other military.

The public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and to make a day of it.