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Thunderbirds, F-35 to headline Luke open house
The public is invited to the “Lightning in the Desert” Open House and Air Show 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 15 and 16 at Luke Air Force Base. The air show will include the Air Force Thunderbirds, the Wings of Blue parachute team, the Marines MV-22 Osprey, an F-16 Fighting Falcon close-air support demonstration, and more. For more details visit and click the graphic under the 2014 Open House and Air Show tab. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer)
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Thunderbirds, F-35 to headline Luke open house

Posted 2/21/2014   Updated 2/21/2014 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Ryan DeCamp
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/21/2014 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Luke Air Force Base's Open House and Air Show, "Lightning in the Desert," is March 15 and 16 and full details are now available on the base's public website,
Details on the website include directions for parking, confirmed acts and aircraft, and allowed and prohibited items, among others.

The gates are scheduled to open at 9 a.m. with a full flightline of static aircraft to view and vendors open for sale. Aerial acts are scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to about 4:15 p.m. and the gates will close at 6 p.m.

The first aerial performance of the day will be the Air Force's parachute team, the Wings of Blue, comprised of cadets from the Air Force Academy. In December, the team performed at Arizona State University's Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe in front of more than 53,000 people at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, a nationally-televised game on ESPN.

Luke's Air Show will also have a Marine Corps feel to it. An MV-22 Osprey demonstration will hit the skies, as will a Luke F-16 close air support demonstration with Marine ground forces calling in simulated air strikes from below. This CAS performance will resemble how Airmen and Marines work together in places like Afghanistan.

The final air act of the day will be the Air Force's Aerial Demonstration team, the Thunderbirds. The team will make its first appearance at an Air Force base in 2014 when it joins "Lightning in the Desert" at Luke, the base where the team was founded in 1953.

More than 40 static aircraft are scheduled to be on hand and at least 15 air and ground demonstrations are scheduled to perform. An F-35A Lightning II will also be at the Open House as a static display.

"We're excited to bring 'Lightning in the Desert' to the Valley this year because it's an opportunity for us to open our gates and show the community who we are and what we do," said Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander. "It will be the first opportunity for many people to see an F-35A up close. It's also a chance for Arizonans to meet the men and women who serve them and see the equipment they use to keep them safe each and every day."

"It's our way of saying 'thank you' for the unrivaled support we've been provided by the citizens of the Valley and the State of Arizona."

3/15/2014 11:59:27 PM ET
I am so proud of the pilots and all that are involved. I have never heard a single person complain about the noise of the jets. We feel honored for what you do for us. Keep flying over I love it.Thank you United States Air Force.Grandma Karen
Karen Keaton, Sun CityAZ
3/12/2014 12:19:00 PM ET
what time does disabled parking openWhat time does entrance to vip Thunder Club open
Adam Kuhni, Desert Hills
2/25/2014 5:34:23 PM ET
Will there be other aerial demonstrations such as the A-10 F-15 or vintage aircraft
Mike Keel, Luke AFB
2/25/2014 5:03:02 PM ET
Where will those with Thunderbird VIP passes park and proceed to get transport to the flight line
Evans, Phx
2/24/2014 2:14:59 AM ET
So excited to make it this year. Heard about it last year and it was cancelled. Hope to have a blast.
Ricahrd, Peoria
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