WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — While you’re on the ground enjoying all the formations, barrel rolls and other aerobatics at the air show this weekend, there will be some other eyes on the skies making sure all the acts have plenty of room to soar.

13WMAZ Anchor Katelyn Heck got to go Behind the Lines at the Air Traffic Control Tower to see what it’s like tracking all those planes at once.

Some days at the Robins Air Traffic Control Tower can be almost peaceful. However, when the air show comes to town, it will be anything but.

“Normally we work with no more than 3-4 at a time in our airspace, so we're looking to go from 3-4 at a time to working anywhere from 10-12 at a time,” said MSgt. Jason McAlpin.

McAlpin says those planes will come in all shapes and sizes.

“We’re used to working with military aircraft, so working with smaller civilian aircraft that fly at different speeds and different altitudes, they have different requests. That’s going to be the biggest challenge,” he said.

From controlling the skies to controlling pretty much everything else, Major Degen Fain took up the mission of coordinating this year’s air show.

“Initial planning for this started back in December, started to pick up in January. I started on the staff around the end of March, beginning of April,” said Fain.

It’s a bit different than his normal job as an Air Battle Manager with JSTARS, but it’s one he takes just as seriously.

“We’ve got something like 40 different aircraft that are coming in and each of them have a different little requirement,” he said.

Each act may bring new challenges for Maj. Fain and the air traffic controllers, but in the end, there’s only one mission – being able to expose the public to the Air Force mission and exposing them to a world they’ve maybe never seen before.

During the Air Show, Fain says Robins is bringing in a professional "air boss" as well to help coordinate with all the performers.

He says the "air boss" has a lot of experience traveling to different air shows and working with the demonstration teams to put on the best show possible.


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