Air show offers glimpse of the future

Thousands showed up on Saturday for the airshow at Columbus Air Force Base
Staff Writer

In a weekend filled with sports, community events and even comedy and cartoons across north Mississippi and West Alabama, more than 25,000 people took the opportunity Saturday to see up close everything from the world’s unmatched military firepower to planes that have made the U.S. military great for generations.

And along the way, those who attended the “Wings Over Columbus” Air Show and Open House got to tour some of the world’s most venerable planes, from the C-5 to the B-52 and B-1 inside and out, pretend they were pilots in fighter simulators and talk to the men and women who operate them everyday.

On top of that, precision parachutists, current fighter pilots, vintage planes and their pilots and aerobatics filled the sky with tricks and turns that left even experienced pilots wondering how they were done.

“There is nothing about that that is real, nothing I learned in physics, engineering or flight school says that is possible,” John Embry said as he and his wife Susan stood among hundreds of others and watched the Air Force’s F-22 Raptors perform.

“I was amazed at the things the AT-6s could do, the dives and loops. And those are World War II-era planes. T’s not even real,” said Freda Evans, as she and a group of friends watched one of the demonstrations that included Golden Triangle businessman Gary Dedeaux, who owns Gary’s Pawn and Gun in West Point and Columbus.

In addition to the aerial dynamics, which included everything from smoke and fire to aerial ticks and high-speed precision, the Columbus Air Force Base tarmac was filled with some of the nation’s latest technology and opportunities for families to see first-hand the things they see and hear about in the news.

The opportunities that abound in the military and other fields weren’t lost on the thousands of kids of all ages who spent hours on the grounds

“That’s what I want to do,” one young girl told her mother from a stroller as they wheeled by a helicopter.

“You can if that is what you want,” responded Amber Jennings, her mother.

A new Air Force drone attracted dozens of visitors, including many youngsters who saw something familiar from their current lives.

“I fly that in that video games,” 12-year-old Aaron Strong told his dad Devin as they looked at the contraption that looked half plane and half alien spaceship.

“Heck, by the time you are 20, you’’ be flying that for real,” his dad replied as Aaron ran off to the drone’s tail section.

“We’re proud of what we do, these men and women out here are proud of what they do and proud to serve the country. This is a chance to share this with the Golden Triangle, the place we call home. And it’s a chance to show another generation about all the men and women who came before them and that they can do in the future,” said Sonic Johnson, chief of public affairs for the base.