Blue Angels to fly at Dobbins in October

The Blue Angels – the Navy’s high-speed, aerobatic flying team -- are coming back to Dobbins Air Reserve Base.

According to the base website, the Wings Over Atlanta 2010 Air Show is set for Oct. 16-17, two years after the last time a military precision air show – in 2008 it was the Air Force's Thunderbirds – was staged at the Marietta site.

About 144,000 people came out over two days for the 2008 show, causing a transportation nightmare. Even though Cobb Community Transit buses were shuttling visitors to the base from parking lots at Six Flags White Water and Lockheed Martin, the traffic jams made the otherwise short trip take two hours in some cases.

This year, spectators will again be shuttled from various parking lots to the base but those details are still being developed. An engineer is being consulted in hopes of avoiding the problems of two years ago.

The Canadian Snowbirds, a precision flying team like the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, also will fly.

Two Blue Angels are in their final year with the team -- the No. 1 pilot and flight commander, Cmdr. Greg McWherter, and the lead solo, Lt. Cmdr. Frank Weisser. Both are from metro Atlanta.

The specialized team has suffered more than two dozen fatalities since it was founded in 1946 as a recruiting tool for the Navy.

The most recent crash was in 2007 during the final minutes of a show in Beaufort, S.C. The 32-year-old pilot, who was performing in one of his first air shows with the team, was killed. There was another deadly crash in 1999 when the team was practicing for air shows at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta.

This year's show is free, and gates will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. both days.