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, www.luke.af.mil.
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.”