The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are the featured headliners for the ninth-annual Wings Over North Georgia Drive-In Air Show. This is a special season for the team as it celebrates the 75th anniversary of the team with a stop at the Russell Regional Airport in Rome, GA on Oct 30-31. The show in northwest Georgia is the only appearance by the Blue Angels in the state for the 2021 season. The Blue Angels last performed at the Wings Over North Georgia Air Show in 2017 and attracted record-breaking crowds. The 2021 event requires advance online purchases for tickets and is expected to sell out soon.
During the air show, LT Commander Cary Rickoff will fly the No. 6 aircraft for the team as the opposing solo pilot. Rickoff is a native of Atlanta, GA and a graduate of Riverwood High School. While attending high school, he lettered in baseball and later attended Duke University graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy. He later earned his commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and joined the Blue Angels in 2018. Rickoff has accumulated more than 2,000 flight hours and more than 180 carrier-arrested landings. Rickoff will be joined by six other team members from the Atlanta area. YN1 Kendall Hamilton hails from Decatur, GA, AT1 Cameron Ferguson is from Commerce, GA, and AD2 K.C. Cross calls Gordon, GA home.
AO2 Destiny Berthoud, Sgt. Darrius McCauley, and LS2 Brian Hubbard all are from Atlanta. The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the teamwork and professionalism of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps through flight demonstrations and community outreach while inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country. During the team’s stop in Rome, it will visit with local students and organizations prior to the demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday.
The team also conducts a “Key Influencer” flight as part of their pre-show activities. The Key Influencer program recognizes individuals who help to shape the attitudes and opinions of recruiting age youths in local communities. John Morrow was selected as the Key Influencer nominee based on his involvement with youth organizations. John is the head of the Math Department at Gilmer High School in Elijay, GA and is also an active leader with the youth groups at Turniptown Baptist Church.
Additional acts rounding out the lineup of world-class performers include the A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Black Daggers Parachute Team, the C-17 Globemaster III Demonstration Team, Scott Farnsworth Aerosports Team, Michael Goulian, Mike Wiskus, Greg Koontz, Larry Kelly in the B-25 Mitchel, Scott “Scooter” Yoak in the P-51 Mustang, and Jerry “Jive” Kirby in the T-28 Mad Dog.
Parking Gates open at 9 a.m. with pre-show aerial demonstrations begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Pre-show activities include C-130H airdrops by military units from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, capabilities demonstrations from the SWAT Tactical Team from the Georgia State Patrol helicopter unit, and a formation flying demonstration by the Full Throttle Airshow Team. Opening ceremonies and flying demonstrations will kick-off each day around noon and the Blue Angels will serve as the closing act both days at 3:30 p.m.
ALL tickets for the Drive-In Air Show are ADVANCE PURCHASE only and will not be sold on show days. Those interested in attending the event should purchase early before tickets are sold out. Guests are allowed to bring their own chairs, tables, non-alcoholic beverages, and food. Beverages and food will also be available for sale on site.