Thunder in the Valley Air Show showcases high-flying stunts

Thunder in the Valley Air Show showcases high-flying stunts
(Source: WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - During the Thunder in the Valley Air Show, you can expect to see big thrills, tricks in the sky and high flying performances.

"We basically do the same thing as the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels but we do it in propeller-driven airplane," says Steve Gustafson with Aeroshell Aerobatics.

Nick-named "The Pilot Maker," four North American T-6 airplanes make up Aeroshell Aerobatic team. Each plane is a retired veteran aircraft weighing in at 5,000 pounds. The planes now do tricks in the sky, even at 70 years old.

"Up close and personal, we'll never hardly get out of sight," says Gustafson.

The planes fly in a diamond formation, doing barrel rolls and tricks across the sky. Only eight feet separate each plane from the tip of their wings.

"When you're by yourself you are able to carve your own road basically. But whenever you have to be disciplined enough to fly eight feet off of someone's wing that's another challenge," says Gustafson.

Gustafson flies left wing with the team. He has been flying since he was 12 years old, and on his third airplane since the age of 17. The Aeroshell team has been flying the skies for 33 years.

"People ask me 'Why do you do this?'" says Gustafson. "No red lights, no traffic, no stop signs and no road rage."

The Aeroshell Aerobatic team is just one of the many high flying performing acts at the Thunder in the Valley Air Show.

Viper Airshows, Kent Pietsch Airshows, The Class of '45, Larry Labriola, Army Aviation Heritage Foundation Sky Soldiers, U.S. Army Silver Wings Parachute Demonstration Team, and the Georgia State Patrol Aviation Division are also set to fly the skies.

On the ground, you can watch the Dallas Riders and Ms. D'Meaner Jet Funny Car show off their talents. You can learn more about the acts, both in the sky and on the ground here.

The Thunder in the Valley Air Show raises money for local charities each year during the event.

Ten youth organizations in the Chattahoochee Valley were given donations totaling $50,000 in September 2017 from the year's Thunder in the Valley Air Show.

The checks were presented during a kick off planning meeting for the 2018 air show.

The total amount raised for area charities during the 2017 event was $64,800.

If you would like to learn more about the Thunder in the Valley Air Show, including schedules and pricing click here.

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