Flying High


The Smoky Mountain Air Show Returns to East Tennessee

Four F-18 Super Hornets roar down the runway towards take-off. As they lift off the tarmac, wheels up, they move into perfect synchronization lifting skyward. The hallmark of this team are their tight formations mere feet from one another, executing a series of maneuvers that has them twisting and turning across the sky. A crowd below, filled with people of all generations, stares in awe.

If you look and listen skyward in early September, you will no doubt hear the distinct noise that only a military fighter jet can make. The Blue Angels—the high-flying demonstration team of the United States Navy—will be doing final preparations for the 2022 Smoky Mountain Air Show, returning to McGhee Tyson Airport on September 10 and 11.

“Flying with another plane or two or three within 20 feet of you; it’s just amazing,” says Lt. Col. Travers Hurst, one of the event organizers. “These are professionals, and they’ve practiced hundreds of hours to get this show down and make it perfect.”

Gates will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday. At 11 a.m. the first planes will go up to perform, kicking off two full days of flying. The Blue Angels will be joined by the A-10 Air Force Demonstration Team, the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, the Commemorative Air Force, Greg Koontz Air Shows, Younkin Air Shows, and the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team.

In addition to the flights, a variety of static aircrafts from across the country will be on hand for event-goers to visit, from fighter jets and helicopters to civilian aircrafts and historic biplanes. Food and drink vendors will also be in attendance.

The event is put on by the Metro Knoxville Airport Authority and the 134th Air Refueling Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard, where Hurst serves. The last time the air show happened in the region was in 2016, he says; prior to that, it had been 16 years. “Your opportunities to see this kind of show are limited,” he says, so get your parking passes and get in line.

Details on the air show and how to obtain parking passes or reserved seating can be found at And you can follow Cityview’s coverage of the show here at as it approaches. We will see you there!

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