10/19/04 — Thunderbirds to fly at base's air show

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Thunderbirds to fly at base's air show

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on October 19, 2004 2:01 PM

The U.S. Air Force's Thunderbirds will be making their only appearance in North Carolina this year at the annual Wings Over Wayne Airshow at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The event will be Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The base is expecting between 60,000 and 75,000 people to attend. It is free and open to the public.

The Thunderbirds, a precision flying team, flies the F-16. The pilots perform a combination of solo and formation flying routines.

There will also be a variety of civilian aerial performances, military aerial acts and military and civilian static displays.

Civilian aerial performances include the Team Oracle Challenger, the Red Baron Pizza Squadron, the Yak Attack Demonstration Team, the Flying Farmer and a MiG-17 Fresco demonstration.

Other military aerial acts include the A-10 Thunderbolt II East Coast Demo Team, the F-15 East Coast Demo Team and a KC-135R Stratotanker demonstration.

Also returning this year is the combined arms demonstration. In it, the 4th Fighter Wing leads a force of jets, helicopters, paratroopers and massive explosions to exhibit real-world battle tactics to attack and secure an enemy airfield.

Another aerial performance scheduled is a 20-minute heritage fly-by of several vintage aircraft used in conflicts from World War II through Vietnam.

This year's air show will offer more than just aerial entertainment. The Dodge Jet-Truck will show off its power as it rips down the runway at 350 mph. Back by popular demand is local racer Stephen Rhodes, who will drive the WP Rose Supply race car in a rematch sprint with an F-15E from last year's show.

Several military and civilian static displays will be set up throughout the show area, including home-based F-15Es and KC-135Rs, a B-52 Stratofortress, a B-1B Lancer, a C-5 Galaxy, an E-2C Hawkeye, an OV-1D Mohawk and a North Carolina State Trooper helicopter.

The Red Baron Pizza Squadron will provide entertainment for the entire family, including pedal bi-planes for toddlers, flight simulation through virtual-reality goggles for teens, and the 3-D Flying Adventure theater for everyone.

Hugh Oldham will narrate the program. Oldham, a former military and civilian aviator, has narrated air shows since 1968. He, along with his wife and sound technician, Jane, live in Anderson, S.C.

Visitors are welcome to bring blankets, lawn chairs, binoculars and cameras. For safety purposes, coolers, pets and backpacks will not be permitted through the gates. All vehicles and bags are subject to search. Motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets while on base.

Parking is free during the event, and details on where to park will be available.

For more information, visit Seymour Johnson's air show Web site at www.seymourjohnson.af.mil/airshow or call the Airshow Information Hotline at 722-7427.