12/08/10 — Thunderbirds coming in April

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Thunderbirds coming in April

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 8, 2010 1:46 PM

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News-Argus file photo

The Air Force Thunderbirds streak over the 70,000 people who attended the 2006 Wings Over Wayne air show.

Some will streak.

Others will fall.

One will even sing.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base officials confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that several acts have signed on to headline the Wings Over Wayne air show and open house -- the Air Force Thunderbirds, Army Golden Knights Parachute Team and country music singer Aaron Tippin.

More than 70,000 people were in attendance the last time the Thunderbirds took to Wayne County skies -- a crowd that left a tremendous economic footprint on Goldsboro and surrounding areas. But unlike the 2006 air show, the 2011 edition of Wings Over Wayne will last all weekend.

So while the two-day event isn't scheduled for takeoff until April 16 and 17, 4th Fighter Wing officials are already bracing for a crowd they hope will break the record attendance of 100,000 set in 2008.

In fact, long before the Thunderbirds were named as a headliner, air show director Maj. James Ladd encouraged everyone within earshot to step inside the installation gates.

"The 4th Fighter Wing and 916th Air Refueling Wing would like to invite the community and their families to come out and see the wide variety of aircraft displays and aerial demonstrations that showcase our military air power," he said in a statement. "This is Seymour Johnson's opportunity to open our gates to the public so they can see what we do and meet our military families."