Mon, May 20, 2024

One down and one to go at Augusta Airport

Fast on the heels of the 2024 Masters Tournament, Augusta National Women’s Amateur, and the Drive, Chip and Putt Competition, Augusta Regional Airport is preparing for another large-scale event.

The second annual Augusta Air Show is set for May 25 and 26. The U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team is this year’s headliner.

According to the team’s media guide, the team is stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and “performs precision aerial maneuvers to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft. The team also teams up with Air Force Heritage flight exhibiting the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain, and support these aircraft.”

The U.S. Navy Growler Demo Team will also join them.

According to the team’s website: “The EA-18G Growler is the most advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) platform and is the only one in production today. A variant of the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet, the Growler provides tactical jamming and electronic protection to U.S. military forces and allies around the world.”

Among its responsibilities, it provides intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data to other aircraft. It also gives enhanced radar resolution and uninterrupted radio communications.

Airport Executive Director, Herbert Judon, Jr. told ABD they want to build on the success of last year’s show featuring the Thunderbirds.

“I think just the momentum that we had last year, because it was an operational success with the parking and all those elements of the project,” he said. “So, it’s only going to grow not only with the acts, but also with the reputation and the number of people that are going to attend.”

Air shows are one way airport leadership can reach their goal of growing the airport by increasing public awareness of what the airport provides. The hope is that airport growth will entice a third airline to add service to and from Augusta.

Last year’s air show was the first at Augusta airport in two decades. Judon said they must build back the public interest.

“And I think last year was a good baseline to kind of start that momentum again, because, again, logistically, everything went well,” said Judon. “I know 20 years ago, the last air show that we had, it was disastrous in terms of the parking and the access. So, there were a lot of things that left kind of a sour taste in people’s mouths after that one. I think the fact that we were able to pull it off last year and we worked out all of those logistic issues, that’s only going to help grow it as we go forward.”

Judon said the staff is preparing the final report on the impact the Masters Tournament, ANWA, and Drive, Chip and Putt had on the airport, but initial reports are positive.

“This year was excellent. We measure ourselves by the ability to manage the traffic, but also, we measure ourselves by safety, and lack of incidents and accidents,” he said. “We had just one minor vehicular accident. But outside of that, from a safety standpoint, everything went well. So, this is my eighth year here, and this is definitely the best.”

The Aviation Commission’s Masters Committee is meeting later this week to receive the staff’s complete report.

Also this month, the airport is holding a ribbon cutting and unveiling of the terminal expansion on the east end of the building, including the two new jet passenger boarding bridges. The bridges were used for Masters Week, but on generator power.

In addition to the F-22 Raptor and Growler team for this year’s air show, there will also be a P-51 Mustang demo and an attack helicopter demo. Organizers plan to announce another military demo team on May 13.

For more information and to purchase tickets:

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