Smyrna, Tenn. (WKRN) – It is that time of year again, the 50th Great Tennessee Air show is ready to take flight in Smyrna. From stunt pilots to military demonstration teams, this year is sure to be special.
“We’re finally back. I mean, after 2020, let’s get outside and have some fun,” said John Black, Executive Director Smyrna and Rutherford County Airport.
Pilots have been gearing up all week for the long awaited event.
“I can’t tell you how many times in my aviation career, that said hey I wouldn’t be in aviation, flying at Southwest or Delta if I hadn’t have come to this air show when I was a kid. So it’s pretty special and inspiring,” said Black.
This year the show will pay tribute to the Nashville Six, honoring the officers who were recognized by Metro Police for evacuating and saving lives from 2nd Avenue before the Christmas Morning bombing.
“One of our true hometown heroes from the Christmas bombing, Brenna Hosey is going to be flying with us on the US Thunderbirds. She is one of our hometown heroes and we want to pay tribute to her for what she did for us on Christmas,” Black said.
Hosey, who has been with the department for four years, and is credited for helping to clear the part of Downtown as an RV played messages that warned it would detonate. A bomb inside the RV exploded around 6:30 a.m., killing the bomber, injuring three other people, and damaging more than 40 businesses.
Alongside Hosey, the air show would not be the same without paying tribute to Blue Angels pilot, Marine Captain Jeff Kuss. Kuss was killed when his jet crashed while practicing for the Great Tennessee Air Show, he was 32-year-old at the time.
“It really made me realize just how deep that this air show runs in the fabric of the whole Middle Tennessee area. It was a sad day, it was tragic and we will never forget,” Black said, remembering the incident.
A memorial in his honor sits at Lee Victory Park on Sam Ridley Parkway. The memorial features a F/A-18C Horney, emblazoned with Kuss’ plane number. The plane was donated by the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.
THIS YEARS LINEUP
For the first time in ten years, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are returning to Middle Tennessee, as the headline performance.
This year’s performers include:
- The United States Special Operations Command Parachute Team
- U.S. Navy F-35C Demonstration Team
- U.S. Navy Legacy Flight (featuring the F-35C, a Navy EA-18G Growler, and Jim Tobul flying his “Korean War Hero” F4U-4 Corsair)
- U.S. National Aerobatic champions Mike Wiskus of Lucas Oil Air Shows
- Nine-time consecutive winner Rob Holland
- Mike Goulian (Red Bull Air Races Champion)
- Navy EA-18G Growler demonstration
- Scott “Scooter” Yoak in his World War II-era Quick Silver P-51D Mustang.
This year COVID protocols will be in place, meaning like most things, there will be some changes. Face maks are not required. The year’s show will feature a newly designed guest experience that is the first of its kind, a boutique event produced to ensure a high-quality guest experience and social distancing, according to Black.
“All the seating is either in pairs of two or four and those are separated by six feet. Which after we laid it out it’s really nice because everybody has elbow room and it’s just not as compact,” said Black.
The event will address COVID-19 guest safety concerns, the 2021 air show will be done at reduced-capacity event. All tickets must be purchased in advance, individual or general admission tickets are not available. All ticket holders will have their own seats. Instead of purchasing tickets at the gate, all tickets must be purchased online, in advance.
With the show underway, if you are traveling into the Smyrna area, there are
June 4-6 , 2:30 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.
- Sam Ridley Parkway (SR 266) will be closed from Lowry Street (US41/70S) to G street
- Threet Industrial Rd. will be closed from Sam Ridley Parkway to Aviation Parkway
- Fitzhugh Drive will be closed from Sam Ridley Parkway to 9th avenue
- Swan Drive will be closed from Fitzhugh Drive to D street
- Nolan Drive will be closed from Sam Ridley Parkway to the Event Center
Greenway Closures June 4-6, 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Old Jefferson Pike Trailhead
- Sewart Airbase Trailhead
- Ninth Avenue Trailhead
- The Event Center Trailhead
Lee Victory Recreation Park Closure
June 4: Park is closed from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. June 5 and 6: Park will not open until 5:00 p.m.