Maxwell Air Force Base will host the Beyond the Horizon Air and Space Show on April 6 and 7.

Montgomery hasn't hosted an air show since 2017. Organizers planned one for 2020 but canceled once COVID-19 began.

The "Beyond the Horizon" name of the event is a nod towards a recent announcement by the Air Force it would begin retooling its deployments, training, and command structure to prepare for possible upcoming great power conflicts with China and other countries.

"We're taking a look beyond what we've done in the past, what we're even doing right now and we're looking forward into the future which is now so we're going to focus on the F-35. We have an F-22 hopefully coming and that thought of, 'Hey, let's start getting the public kind of thinking about this.' We're going to be talking about that at the Air Show and (saying) 'Hey, we're refocusing on this now,'" Retired United States Air Force Colonel Doug DeMaio, event organizer, said in a recent interview with 1819 News.

Gates open at 8 a.m. on both days. The opening ceremony starts at 10 a.m., with flying acts beginning at 11 a.m. Gates close at approximately 5 p.m. Attendees can also visit the STEM Expo for a variety of displays and hands-on experiences, including rocketry, robotics, educational booths, flight simulators, virtual reality experiences, STEM experiments, and speakers from the government, defense, industry, education, and entertainment industries.

"We're going to take it up a notch," DeMaio said. "It's a big recruiting effort. As you probably know, the military other than the Space Force, I think the Marines did alright. In general, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force did not meet recruiting goals. I think there's a general lack of knowledge about the military. This is why we have air shows. Part of the reason is to have this recruiting effort that is very powerful."

DeMaio continued, "We have quite a few defense companies coming to this air show that are sponsoring or going to participate in STEM Day. We didn't have that before. The idea too is to develop the industry and develop the view of the River Region for commerce and the defense industry as well."

The event is also the first air show in the nation to offer premium seating options for guests. Featured performers include the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, and the F-16 Viper Demo Team, and others.

"It's going to be much more of a destination than it ever has been. The idea is to develop that into the future," DeMaio said. "That's the other thing about this is, let's try to bring some visibility and business to the River Region because it's really ripe for that type of development."

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