East Texas pilot prepares to wow crowds at Rose City Airfest

Here is the latest news from the KLTV East Texas Now News Desk.
Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 6:54 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A jet demonstration pilot who calls East Texas home is gearing up for this weekend’s Rose City Airfest in Tyler.

Each year, Randy Ball flies at air shows all across the country, but this weekend he’ll celebrate the 4th of July at home with a show for his East Texas neighbors.

Growing up, Randy Ball said he quickly figured out what he wanted to do with his life.

“My great uncle, Gilbert Ball, flew 50 missions, two full tours over Germany in a B-17 in World War II.”

While spending summers at the family ranch in West Texas, Ball would wear his uncle out with questions about planes and flying.

“So I would go out to the airport as a kid and be around this stuff and say, ‘I want to do that,’” Ball said.

Fast forward to present day, when Ball is considered North America’s premier jet demonstration pilot.

“Coast to coast, I’m flying upside down close to the ground somewhere,” he said.

A video on Ball's YouTube page shows him performing at airshows across the country.
A video on Ball's YouTube page shows him performing at airshows across the country.(YouTube)

His talent would eventually bring him to Tyler in 2000, when the mayor, council members, and airport manager asked Ball about moving his team to Tyler.

“And I said, ‘Tyler? Really?’ That was 21 years ago and we did move to Tyler, and have been operating out of the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum ever since.”

When his planes aren’t in the air, they’re inside the HAM Museum for maintenance and people to enjoy.

He said it’s been 10 years since he last performed in Tyler at the airport he calls home, and he’s excited to get back in the air for this weekend’s Rose City Airfest, benefiting CampV.

“It’s really cool for me, because we do this performance 25 weekends a year, sometimes three times per a weekend, all over North America, but I never get to do it for Tyler, not just home and go for maintenance.”







CCVF is pleased to announce proceeds from ROSE CITY AIRFEST will primarily benefit Camp V, Tyler, an all-inclusive veteran’s support center in Tyler, Texas. Camp V, Tyler, is a new 20-acre campus that will serve veterans, active service members, reserve or family members in need of mental, physical, and spiritual wellness assistance. CCVF invites you to learn more at www.CampVTyler.org.

ROSE CITY AIRFEST will take off at 6:00 pm on July 2nd, 2021 at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. The performers will include Randy Ball’s Russian MiG17, a variety of vintage warbird planes including WW II era B-17 “Texas Raiders”, B-25 “Devil Dog”, the last remaining Helldiver and Vietnam era planes and helicopters. Many of these planes will be available for rides and tours from July 3rd – 4th, at The Magnificent Warbird Expo.

These planes will also be performing in THUNDER OVER CEDAR CREEK LAKE AIR SHOW on July 3 over Cedar Creek Lake. Make plans to attend the largest July 4th weekend celebration in East Texas by attending the ROSE CITY AIRFEST. We invite you to explore sponsorship and donation opportunities as well as purchase your event tickets today!

Click here for tickets.

Copyright 2021 KLTV. All rights reserved.