By Rick Palsgrove
Look to the sky for some exciting sights in the summer of 2023.
That’s because, after a several year absence, the Columbus Air Show returns on June 17-18, 2023 at Rickenbacker International Airport, 2241 John Circle Drive, Columbus.
“The last show at Rickenbacker Airport was 2007’s Gathering of Mustangs and Legends that drew more than 150,000 guests,” said Herb Gillen, president of Herb Gillen Air Shows.
When asked why the air show is returning after all these years, Gillen said, “Our company has produced and marketed air shows across the country and we’ve always wanted to do a show here in our own hometown. After a several year absence, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority was receptive to doing a show. There was consideration of doing shows before this, but due to different circumstances (airport construction, lack of a jet team, other things) the show did not move forward.”
Performers and air show features
Gillen said the preliminary performer lineup for the 2023 Columbus Air Show includes the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Marine Corps C-130 “Fat Albert,” The Ohio Air National Guard KC-135, B-17 Flying Fortress “Yankee Lady,” B-25 Mitchell “Rosie’s Reply,” C-47 Skytrain “Hairless Joe,” world aerobatic champion Rob Holland, and the Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Car.
“This is just the start and additional performers and a static display lineup will be announced in the future,” said Gillen, who added there will be a large ground display area. “We anticipate a significant military aircraft display area, there will also be hands-on interactive activities for kids of all ages, food, and fun.”
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels
“We are excited beyond belief to host the U.S. Navy Blue Angels at our first air show back in Columbus,” said Gillen. “The Blues are known the world over for their high energy and precision flying.”
According to information provided by Gillen, The Blue Angels demonstration consists of six F/A-18 Super Hornets in the iconic blue and yellow Navy colors. The aircraft will fly at speeds approaching the speed of sound and will perform maneuvers with wing tips as close as 18 inches of separation. The demonstration will also include the Blue Angels’ support aircraft, the U.S. Marine Corps C-130 Hercules “Fat Albert.”
“With the Blue Angels as our headliner, some very special vintage aircraft, the most decorated active civilian aerobatic pilot in the U.S., and one of the top jet vehicle acts in the world, we are starting to build what will be one of the top shows in the country, and we’re just getting started,” said Gillen.
Ticket and general information
Tickets are not yet available and pricing and options are still being determined.
“There will be a variety of options including general admission and several limited quantity premium seating areas,” said Gillen. “Tickets will only be available online at www.ColumbusAirShow.com.”
Visit www.ColumbusAirShow.com for information and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Rickenbacker Airport
“We are delighted to be able to host the Columbus Air Show at Rickenbacker International Airport,” said Joseph Nardone, president and CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority in a press release. “Air shows inspire and entertain, and we look forward to bringing that back to our community.”
As a civil–military public airport, Rickenbacker International Airport is also home to the Ohio Air National Guard’s 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio Army National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility No. 2, the U.S Army, Navy and Marine Corps Reserves, and the headquarters for the Ohio Military Reserve. Although the air show will be held on the civilian side of the facility, it is anticipated the local military units will be invited to have a presence at the show.
“We are excited to see a return of air shows to Columbus and Rickenbacker,” said Col. Scott Lerdon, Wing Commander of the 121st ARW in a press release. “We look forward to being able to show the people of Central Ohio some of what their Ohio Air National Guard does.”