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'Lightning in the Desert' a rebirth of Luke's air show

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Posted: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 12:03 pm

After cancelling the event last year, the Luke Air Force Base Air Show will be revived March 15 and 16, base officials said.

The show attracts several hundred thousand military and aviation fans for a series of demonstrations by the Air Force’s Thunderbirds precision-flying team.

The event also highlights an extensive display of military hardware at the base.

The highlight of the event will be the appearance of the new F-35 Lighting II, which is expected to be at the event for a public viewing during the show.

The F-35 may make a fly-by at the event in March, but that decision will not be made until they complete a long checklist of criteria for the new aircraft.

Luke spokesman Capt. Ryan DeCamp said the Thunderbirds are confirmed to perform on both days of the show.

Headlining the event will be the Thunderbirds, who perform precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of the Air Force’s high performance aircraft for people throughout the world.

The Thunderbirds, who fly in F-16 Fighting Falcons, will perform flying stunts and solo routines. The pilots will perform approximately 40 maneuvers during their flying, which should last approximately 75 minutes each day.

Other aerial performances will be done by T-33 Ace Maker and T-34, Julie Clark Air Shows.

Standing displays that the public can tour and view will be (pending its arrival) the F-35, F-16, Eagle 580 – Matt Chapman Air Shows and the Extra 330 – Mike Goulian Aero Sports show.

The show will also feature a wide display of military and civilian planes and helicopters. Pilots and maintenance technicians will discuss with the public the basics of the aircraft and, people will be able to board some of the aircraft.

The event is free to the public and has drawn up to 260,000 spectators in the past. This year’s show is entitled “Lightning in the Desert.”

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