You weren’t imagining things if you were driving through Peachtree City Thursday morning and thought you saw a Blue Angels F-18 Hornet flying low across the sky.
That was just Navy captains Jeff Kuss and Corrie Mays leaving a meeting with The Great Georgia Air Show and Falcon Field personnel in preparation for next year’s big event.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, better known as “Blue Angels,” announced that The Great Georgia Air Show in Peachtree City would be their last 2015 air show stop the weekend before their annual Homecoming Air Show at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. Next year’s air show in Peachtree City is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
While there are a total of seven jets in the Blue Angels squadron, only six of them perform on air show days. The seventh is a back-up of sorts, and that’s the one Kuss and Mays flew into town Wednesday afternoon. The visit was kept under the radar, but by Wednesday night word of their arrival had spread locally, and dozens of admirers were at the Falcon Field terminal building to see them off just after 10 a.m. Thursday.
“We’re excited to host them,” said Air Show Coordinator Tony DellaTorre. “They’re very professional. We went over all of the operational guidelines, all of their air ops, ground ops and equipment needs.”
DellaTorre said the Blue Angels team will engage with the community during their fall 2015 visit, including possible school and hospital visits and coordinating with the local branch of Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“All the days are planned out in great detail of what they’ll do and when they’ll do it,” DellaTorre said. “This is a big deal for our area.”
Mays said her Blue Angels team is pleased about choosing The Great Georgia Air Show as their next-to-last stop on the 2015 tour.
“It’s nice to do a smaller venue,” Mays said.
She also said attendees will benefit from having a late-season Blue Angels visit next year given that next year’s team will have had even more time to practice their routine and tighten up the formation in the air.
“By the time they fly here late in the season, they will be flying 18 inches apart,” Mays said. “The last team, when we just finished up our 2014 season, they had been together so long they may have gotten a little closer at times.”
The Blue Angels just completed their 2014 season down in Pensacola this past weekend.
During the overnight visit this week, DellaTorre said he was grateful to Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and members of the city council for extending their own welcome to the Blue Angels, giving them a city token as a memento to remember their visit.
Attendees at next year’s The Great Georgia Air Show will, by all accounts, walk away with an experience they will never forget.
According to Mays, all seven F-18s, while not flying, will be lined up at show center for the duration of the air show as well as the Thursday and Friday before.
“They will be very visible the whole time,” Mays said.