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Air show roaring over Rome today, Sunday

October 13, 2018

Two of America’s top strategic aerial weapons roared through the sky over Floyd County Friday, rehearsing for this weekend’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.

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