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Thunder in the Valley Air Show 2017
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20th Annual Thunder in the Valley Air Show


Saturday, April 8 - Sunday, April 9, 2017 - Columbus Airport, Columbus, GA

The Thunder in the Valley Air Show began in 1997 as a local fly-in for aviation enthusiasts and has grown to become one of the largest outdoor family events in the Chattahoochee Valley.  The air show brings in top performers from across the United States, all paid for by local and regional sponsors whose products and services are exposed to an average of 10,000 guests each day of the show, and included in advertising that reaches hundreds of thousands before the event.  National attention has been given to the Thunder in the Valley Air Show by the International Council of Air Shows for excellence in marketing. 


Gates will open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m.

"In the Air" and "On the Ground":


The U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Band will return to Thunder in the Valley. For more than 50 years, the band has taken great pride in entertaining the Soldiers, military families and civilians of the Fort Benning, Columbus and Phenix City communities. The Band’s performances create esprit de corps among Soldiers and veterans, as well as provide patriotic spirit within the civilian community. Watch for details soon on more exciting acts that will be performing at Thunder in the Valley!


Like a streak of blazing lightning from an ominous sky, Skip Stewart blasts into view in PROMETHEUS, a modified Pitts S2S biplane that is sure to wow Thunder in the Valley spectators with a procession of gyroscopic, gravity-defying maneuvers. And Skip’s performance is not only something you’ll see – you’ll also feel it, like a thumping, ripping drumbeat in the center of your chest. Get ready for one of the most high-performance, high-skill, high-adrenaline air show performances you’ll ever see! Skip also will appear with Big Air Insanity – see below for more information on this high-performance Freestyle Motocross act.


Showcasing some of the top Freestyle Motocross riders in the world, the Big Air Insanity FMX Team features a remarkable combination of athletic ability and X-treme stunt performances. Each rider soars up to 70 feet in the air, from a mechanical take-off ramp to a mechanical landing ramp, while crafting a show of daring stunt routines including The Bar Hop, Lazy Boy, Coffin, Pendulum, Stripper, Cliffhanger, Cordova, Whip, Double Grab, Indian Air, Superman, Sterilizer, Executioner, Rock Solid, Heart Attack and the heart-stopping finale of a jump over a moving airplane flown by Skip Stewart.


Air show veteran Neal Darnell is the driver – or perhaps “pilot” is the more appropriate term – of Shockwave, the world’s fastest jet-powered truck. This custom-built monster is equipped with three J34-48 Pratt & Whitney jet engines sporting a combined horsepower is 36,000 – easily enough to propel it to speeds of more than 350 mph. Always a crowd favorite at air shows, Shockwave launches an all-out sensory assault – flame, smoke, heat, noise and don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it speed that will leave you in awe.


Greg Koontz has been performing in airshows since 1974, when he joined Col. Moser’s Flying Circus and learned his trademark maneuvers from the best in the business. A veteran of more than 350 performances since then, Greg will showcase his versatile flying skills at Thunder in the Valley with two acts: A thrilling aerobatic routine in his American Champion Super Decathlon, and the hiliarious “Alabama Boys” comedy routine featuring wayward farmer Clem Cleaver in a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub.


An air show veteran of nearly two decades, Gary puts his MX2 through a sequence  jam-packed with breathtaking gyrations that range from zero-speed hovers to dives in excess of 250 mph. The MX2 is so powerful that at the end of an inverted flat spin, rotation is stopped and the MX2 will fly out, inverted, without the nose ever dropping below the horizon. Gary makes full use of his aircraft’s power and agility to perform many maneuvers that, as he says, “an airplane just isn’t supposed to do.”


Matt Younkin’s Beech 18 performance is likely the most unusual act – and definitely one of the most graceful – on the air show circuit today. This 1940s-era workhorse played a number of roles, including mail carrier, firefighter, military trainer and light airline transport. Today, Matt puts it through an aerobatic routine that its designers never conceived possible for such a large aircraft. As the Beech’s twin radial engines roar and the aircraft makes its long, sweeping arcs through the skies above Columbus Airport, you’ll see why this most unique of acts is a perennial favorite of air show audiences around the country.


Tiger Flight Foundation was founded in 2000 by two Atlanta-area pilots to enjoy the challenge of formation flying and to promote a unique aircraft, and a decade later is dedicated to promoting science, math and leadership in area youth.


The Hixson Museum of Flight preserves the past by giving life to living, breathing historical artifacts. One of the best features of the museum is that we have planes that actually fly. The airplane collection currently includes a T-28 “Trojan” Alpha Model, a T-28 “Trojan” Bravo Model, a 1946 Taylorcraft, Beechcraft C-45, and a 1958 Piper Apache. Vehicles include also a tug and a M38A-1 Jeep.


Navy Captain Dr. Daniel Serrato’s Grumman C-1A Trader. This C.O.D. was production # 031 of an arguable 83-87 ever built by Grumman Aerospace corporation. It is powered by two Wright R-1820 nine cylinder radial engines producing approx. 1525 horsepower each. The propellers are Hamilton Standard 43D51-355 three bladed ,full feathering, hydromatic. This Navy only plane could carry a crew of 3 and 8 passengers or 3500 lbs. of cargo.


This North American T-28C Trojan belongs to Dr. Daniel Serrato of Columbus, Georgia. It is painted in the colors of VAW-77, the Nightwolves. The Trojan was built as a replacement for the Texan. The T-28C added a tail hook so it could be used to train Naval pilots to land on an aircraft carrier. Over 1,900 of these aircraft were produced and approximately 150 are still airworthy.


Formed in 1965 by the director of the Airborne Department, the team can trace its origins back to 1958 and members of the Airborne-Ar Mobility Command. The mission of the Silver Wings is to represent the Maneuver of Excellence Center (MCoE), 1/507 PIR Airborne School, the US Army, while demonstrating the freefall and canopy accuracy capabilities of today’s airborne forces.

Stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia, each member of the Silver Wings is a qualified parachutist. Members of the team are from a variety of units on Ft. Benning with both military and civilian parachuting/freefall experience.

Since their first jump in August 1965, the Silver Wings have inspired countless airborne students, supported demonstrations around the United States and have been ambassadors of the Airborne School, the MCoE, Ft. Benning and the United States Army.


The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation “Sky Soldiers” feature a patriotic demonstration of their Vietnam-era Cobra and Huey helicopters. The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation is a non-profit public educational foundation dedicated to presenting the Army Aviation story to the American people through narrated, patriotic flying presentations and static displays of the actual aircraft and equipment used by the men and women who served in Army Aviation. Rides in either a Vietnam era Huey or Cobra helicopter can be booked by phone and are piloted by military veterans. All aircrafts are historic, flyable Army Aviation aircraft representing Army Aviation (Vietnam to present) that have been acquired, restored and maintained by the Foundation. These aircraft also will be on hand for spectator rides (at an additional fee separate from the air show ticket).


Formed in 2008 by a highly experienced and passionate group of aviators, Stearman Flight is the FAA authorized F.A.S.T. signatory to provide standardized formation training and certification for flight in waivered airspace, such as that found during airshows, for Stearman pilots. The Stearman Formation Team was formed to preserve and fly the magnificent and historic Boeing Stearman Model 75 while paying respect to the men and women who designed, maintained and flew it in the WWII era.

Stearman Flight founders are highly experienced formation pilots, instructors & check pilots in the Stearman aircraft as well as others such as T-6, Lancair, Bonanza & Military jets. Many are instructor pilots in Stearman Flight, NATA (North American Trainer Association), ABS (American Bonanza Society) & LOBO (Lancair Owners and Builders Organization).Comprised of private Stearman owners from around the Southeast, the team flies formations to honor our service men and women, past, present and future.


The Rise Above Traveling Exhibit is a mobile theater featuring “Rise Above,” an original panoramic film that educates and inspires people of all ages with the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. These war heroes broke down barriers with their courage and determination to serve our country in WWII, and their ability to triumph over adversity remains a compelling and inspirational example to us all. A fully restored P-51C Mustang, the signature aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen, accompanies the exhibit.


Brits in the Valley was established in 2015 after a few friends with vintage British cars recognized the need for such an organization in the Columbus area. The informal group has grown to more than 40 members throughout the Valley, representing more than 35 British cars. On a monthly basis, you can find this group either on a drive to Pine Mountain, wrenching on cars at a tech session, or attending a car show – such as this one in which their own vehicles will be on display at Columbus Airport!


This popular display features tanks, artillery and armored vehicles employed by the U.S. Army. Air show attendees enjoy an up-close and educational look at these pieces that have been used to defend our country in past conflicts.

Plus flying demonstrations by historic military aircraft, civilian aircraft on display, airplane and helicopter rides, a military encampment experience, a children’s carnival and great food. 

General admission is $10 in advance and military admission is only $8 in advance. Day-of-event tickets are $15. Children age six and younger are always free. Cost of ticket includes entry only.

 More ticket information:

Tickets for the Thunder in the Valley Air Show will go on sale February 27, 2017.  All tickets are good for one of the two show days, but not for both days. (Attendance on both days would require two tickets.)  There will be no rain dates and no refunds.

It takes more than a few drops of rain to stop the Thunder in the Valley Air Show! The Air Show will take place – weather permitting – both Saturday and Sunday. Air show performers have high, low and flat routines to adapt to varying weather conditions. Schedules may be altered, delayed for periods of time or canceled if heavy rainfall occurs.

Ticket Prices:

$10 Advance Ticket                                                                                                            

$15 Day of Event Ticket                                                                                                     

$ 8 Advance Military Ticket - Military advance tickets are only available through MWR Tickets and Travel at Ft. Benning, GA.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Chattahoochee Council, Boy Scouts of America - Discounted tickets are available at the Council Office (1237 First Avenue, Columbus, GA and 706/327-2634)                                    

Children 6 and under are FREE                  

 Ticket Locations:

Columbus-Area McDonald’s
Flightways Columbus (at the airport)
Ace Hardware – St. Marys Road
Brusters Real Ice Cream -1654 Whittlesey Rd., Columbus, GA
Brusters Real Ice Cream – 7590 Schomburg Rd., Columbus, GA
Brusters Real Ice Cream – 3465 Macon Rd., Columbus, GA
Wingstop – 2528 Weems Rd., Columbus, GA


Parking Information:

There is free parking for the Thunder in the Valley Air Show at Columbus State University; includes free shuttle service - Cunningham Center Parking Lot and Lots #5 and #7.  Limited parking is available at the Airport for $15.00 and Wal-Mart (Airport Thruway) for $10.00. For safety concerns “no parking” rules will be enforced on Airport Thruway and Moon Road.

Sponsors for the 2017 Thunder in the Valley Air Show include:

Pratt & Whitney, Wells Fargo, PMB Broadcasting, Ledger-Enquirer, WTVM, Aflac, Columbus Airport, KIA Autosport, Double Tree, Bojangles', WRBL, My Care Urgent Care, TracSoft, Advance Disposal, Davis Broadcasting, Chattahoochee Gutter, Pepsi, AutoTrader.com, Mediacom, Extreme Power Sports, Zaxby's Restaurant, Stars and Strikes Family Entertainment Center and dozens of other community-minded individuals and organizations.

The Thunder in the Valley Air Show is a non-profit, family, fun event that is both alcohol-free and tobacco-free.  Proceeds from the 2016 Air Show went to organizations in the Chattahoochee Valley – 17 ASOS UAC, Alpha Omicorn Pi, Anne Elizabeth Shepherd Home, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Chattahoochee Valley, Civil Air Patrol, Chattahoochee Council, Boy Scouts of America, Columbus High School Athletic Association, Columbus Police Department Explorer Post, Ft. Benning Trainees, Ft. Benning, GA Santa's Castle, Girls Inc., Harris County High School Explorers, Literacy Alliance, Northside High School FCCLA, Order of Demolay, Rising Star Program, Russell County Child Advocacy Center, Smith Station High School NHS, Storybook Farm, Wounded Warriors and Young Eagles.  

Please note: By your admission to Thunder in the Valley Air Show, you grant Thunder in the Valley Air Show the right to video/photograph you on the air show grounds for marketing, advertising or broadcasting purposes without payment or consideration thereof.

For more information on the event or how you can become a sponsor, visit www.thunderinthevalleyairshow.com

What is the Thunder in the Valley Air Show performance schedule?

The line-up of performers and static displays will be announced in January 2017.

What time do gates open?

Gates open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m. Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9.

Will the Thunder in the Valley Air Show be televised?

The air show will not be televised and unauthorized broadcast of the show is prohibited. To see all aspects of the air show, you must attend.

Are personal cameras and recording devices allowed?

Yes, cameras and video recorders are allowed.

What happens if it rains on the day of the Thunder in the Valley Air Show?

It takes more than a few drops of rain to stop the Thunder in the Valley Air Show! The Air show will take place - weather permitting - both Saturday and Sunday.  Air show performers have high, low and flat routines to adapt to varying weather conditions. Schedules may be altered, delayed for periods of time or canceled if heavy rainfall occurs. 

Is parking for Thunder in the Valley Air Show free?

Parking is limited at the Columbus Airport, but available for a fee of $15.00.  Parking is available at Walmart for a fee of $10.00.  Parking is FREE at Columbus State University with FREE Shuttle service - . 

What is the handicap access like?

Parking for persons with disabilities is available for FREE in the the VIP parking area.  Permit required for entry into the VIP lot.  An entry gate is located within the VIP parking area for persons with disabilities.  

Is there bleacher seating available at the Thunder in the Valley Air Show? 

Bleachers are available, but seating is limited.  Lawn and camp chairs are welcome. 

What items are allowed/not allowed?

Lawn and camp chairs are welcome.  No food or drinks, No coolers, No pets, No smoking, No bikes, No skate boards, No Scooters and No roller blades.  

Are pets allowed at the Thunder in the Valley Air Show?

For the safety of attendees and the animals, pets are not allowed on the air show grounds. Certified service animals are permitted, this does not include companion animals. 

May I leave and re-enter the Thunder in the Valley Air Show?

Please retain your ticket stub and acquire a hand stamp before exiting show grounds to ensure your ability to return. 

Are shaded areas available at the Thunder in the Valley Air Show?

Limited shade may be found under the wings of static display aircraft but is limited.  Guests are encouraged to bring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and portable, hand-held umbrellas for their comfort. 

May I bring a tent, beach umbrella or awning?

Due to security and safety concerns, tents, beach umbrellas, awnings and the like are not permitted on show grounds.  Personal, hand-held umbrellas are permitted. 

Are first aid facilities on-site at the Thunder in the Valley Air Show?  

Yes, medical personnel will be on site and a first aid center will be open. 

What are the recommend items to bring to the Thunder in the Valley Air Show?

Portable chairs, strollers, cameras, sunscreen, ear plugs, blankets and hand-held umbrellas are items airs how veterans tend to pack.  Please also check out our Thunder in the Valley Air Show Guide for further tips to enjoy the show!

What items are prohibited from being brought into the Thunder in the Valley Air Show?

The following items are prohibited from the Air Show grounds:  coolers, loose ice, cans, glass, alcohol, pets weapons of any kind, tents, awnings and cooking/barbecue equipment. Please note cooking and barbecuing equipment are not allowed in the parking lots (for example, you are not allowed to barbecue in the parking lot for lunch.) 

What does General Admission mean?

Entry into the Air Show.  Cost of the ticket includes entry only.  Other fees are required for food, beverage and some activities.  Ticket holder assumes all risks incident to the Air Show and releases operators, employees, agents and sponsors from all claims.  No refund. No rain dates. Not responsible for lost or stolen tickets. 

Can I get a refund or exchange? 

All tickets are good for one of two air show days, but not for both days.  (Attendance on both days would require two tickets.)  There will be no rain dates or refunds. 

Is there a military discount for ticket to the Thunder in the Valley Air Show?  

Military discount tickets are only available through MWR Tickets and Travel at Ft. Benning, GA.  Tickets are available before 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 7.

Do I need to purchase tickets for my children to attend the Thunder in the Valley Air Show?

Children 6 years old and under are FREE.  Children 7 years old and up must have a ticket to enter. 

Does the Thunder in the Valley Air Show accept credit cards at the gate?

The Air Show accepts cash and credit cards for Air Show admission tickets.  Only cash will be accepted for parking. 

Please note: By your admission to the Thunder in the Valley Air Show, you grant Thunder in the Valley Air Sow the right to video/photograph you on the Air Show grounds for marketing, advertising or broadcasting purposes without payment or consideration thereof. 

Event Date
Apr 08, 2017 10:00 am
Apr 09, 2017 5:00 pm
Columbus Airport
3250 W Britt David Rd
Columbus, GA 31909
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Contact the event directly at: 706/243-8954


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