Air show roar­ing over Rome to­day, Sun­day

♦ Mil­i­tary weaponry and aer­o­batic air­craft will be on full dis­play.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Doug Walker DWalker@RN-T.com

Two of Amer­ica’s top strate­gic ae­rial weapons roared through the sky over Floyd County Fri­day, re­hears­ing for this week- end’s Wings Over North Ge­or­gia Air Show. The U.S. Air Force F-22 Rap­tor and the A-10 Thun­der­bolt “Warthog” were put through their paces to the de­light of scores of peo­ple who lined the Richard B. Rus­sell Air­port grounds to watch some of the air­craft prac­tice their show.

Capt. Cody Wil­ton, was at the stick of the A-10 Thun­der­bolt, said the tank killer is an amaz­ing air­craft. “The ma­neu­ver­abil­ity is just in­cred­i­ble. You look at it and it’s a lit­tle gan­gly, it’s big, but it moves and it turns.”

He has been fly­ing the Warthog, at­tached to the 354th Fighter Squadron, for about eight years. “We just re­turned from Syria last year and they dropped more or­di­nance than any squadron ever has in a six-month de­ploy­ment,” Wil­ton said.

The two A-10 air­craft at the show this week­end are 1978-1979 mod­els. The new­est mod­els were built in 1982.

“They are con­stantly up­grad­ing them. These have new wings, so they have a long life-span ahead of them,” Wil­ton said.

The F-22 is not able to land at Rus­sell air­port so it flew up from Dob­bins in Ma­ri­etta, went through its ma­neu­vers and flew back to Cobb County.

Other pilots put their planes to a fi­nal test be­fore the show Fri­day. Buck Roet­man brought his vin­tage Pitts S2S aer­o­batic down a lit­tle early af­ter de­cid­ing he needed to check on some­thing, while Patty Wagstaff, one of the most dec­o­rated aer­o­batic pilots in the world, prac­ticed a few ba­sic ma­neu­vers with­out go­ing through her en­tire show.

Gates to the air­port open at 9 a.m. Satur­day and Sun­day. The show starts right at noon both days and will end around 5:30. Tick­ets will be avail­able at the gate. Park­ing is avail­able on the air­port grounds as well as Ar­muchee High and the North Floyd Re­cre­ation Cen­ter where shut­tle ser­vice to the air­port be­gins at 8:30.

Capt. Cody Wil­ton, A-10 Thun­der­bolt “Warthog” pi­lot

/ Doug Walker

Patty Wagstaff prac­tices some of her cham­pi­onship aer­o­bat­ics Fri­day in an­tic­i­pa­tion of her per­for­mances at the Wings Over North Ge­or­gia air show to­day and Sun­day.

/ Doug Walker

Cap­tain Cody Wil­ton pre­pares to get out of the cock­pit of the U.S. Air Force A-10 Thun­der­bolt af­ter a prac­tice ses­sion for the Wings Over North Ge­or­gia Air Show Fri­day af­ter­noon. The show will be held at Richard Rus­sell Re­gional Air­port in Rome Satur­day and Sun­day.

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