Thunderbirds, Technology Highlight Selfridge Air Show

  • Published
  • By TSgt Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and displays from all of the nation's military service will highlight the 2009 Selfridge Air Show & Open House, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22-23. 

The biennial show will feature more than 100 aircraft either flying or on display. The Thunderbirds, the internationally-famous Air Force precision flight team, will perform their demonstration of more than 40 aerial maneuvers and a ground show. 

"Our team comes from over 30 specialties throughout the Air Force; they are proud to represent their fellow Airmen who continually execute the Air Force mission, which is to Fly, Fight and Win ... in air, space and cyberspace," said Lt. Col. Greg Thomas, the Thunderbirds commander/leader. 

The 2009 Selfridge Air Show will allow area residents to learn about the mission and the equipment used by their "hometown Air Force," as well as by other branches of the military. 

"Serving in our nation's military is both an honor and a privilege," said Brig. Gen. Michael Peplinski, commanding general of the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing, the "host" unit at Selfridge. "The Air Show provides us an opportunity to welcome our friends and neighbors into the base to demonstrate the capabilities that exist in today's Air Force and our sister services." 

The 2009 Air Show is the first since the 127th Wing underwent a major transition in assigned missions and aircraft. In the past two years, the Wing has transitioned from flying C-130 Hercules cargo planes and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets, to flying KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refuelers and A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft. 

"The hard work and dedication of our Citizen-Airmen during this transition has been nothing short of exceptional," Peplinski said. "We look forward to being able to showcase our new aircraft and new capabilities to the community." 

KC-135s, A-10s, F-16s and C-130s will all be on display at the show. The tankers and the A-10s - affectionately known as the 'Warthog' - will both be part of the flying program. 

For those wishing to get an early start on the show, the base will offer a Friday night concert and fireworks program. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. and will feature performances by the Romantics and Mitch Ryder. Tickets for the concert and fireworks show are $10 and are available for purchase at Admission to the Air Show & Open House on Saturday and Sunday is free. 

In addition to the Thunderbirds and the Selfridge aircraft, other high-performance aircraft at the show include:
· F-18 Super Hornet aircraft from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), both flying and on display
· Air Force F-15 Eagles, on display.
· Air Force B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bomber aircraft. Both aircraft will perform fly-bys of the base during the show.

For fans of rotary-wing aircraft, the U.S. Border Patrol, Coast Guard and Army will all be displaying helicopters operated by those services and which are based at Selfridge. 

A number of historic aircraft will also be on display at the base, including several fighter and bomber aircraft from the World War II era, a Cold War-era Soviet Union MiG-17 and a Vietnam era F-104 fighter jet. 

Two parachute demonstrations will take place during the show. The U.S. Air Force Academy's Wings of Blue team will be making jumps during the show. 

The theme of the 2009 show is technology. In addition to the latest in military equipment on display from the military services, NASA will have a major exhibit of equipment that contributes to the American space program. 

"We believe our Air Show guests will be very pleased with the variety of flying acts and ground displays at this year's show," said Maj. Jim Rossi, director of the 2009 show. "With the Thunderbirds, NASA and all the military services involved with the show, there truly is something of interest for just about everyone." 

The gates open for the Selfridge show at 8 a.m. Visitors may enter the base from the main gate at Hall Road and Jefferson or at a special air show gate accessible from North River Road. Hall Road will be closed along the north end of the base on both Saturday and Sunday and access to the base main gate will be from Jefferson only during the days of the show. When the base reaches visitor capacity, access to the base will be restricted, so visitors are advised to arrive early and plan on staying for the entire show. Traffic updates will be available during the show hours on radio station 87.9FM in a 3-mile radius around the base. 

The flying show begins around 10 a.m. and concludes by 4 p.m. Admission to the show is free, as is the parking. Concessions and souvenirs will be available for sale at the show from a variety of volunteer and community groups. Visitors are welcome to bring cameras and video recorders to the show. 

Visitors are reminded that while the base is open to the public during the show, security measures will remain in effect. No weapons, pets or coolers may be brought on to the base. For a list of other restricted items, visit 

The Selfridge Air Show typically draws in excess of 175,000 people to the base during the two-day run. Countless more people watch the flying portion of the show from the surrounding community. 

"For aviation buffs in the Detroit region, the Selfridge show is the highlight of the calendar," Rossi said. "Not only will you be able to get up close to the aircraft, but you will be able to talk to the people who fly them, fix them and support all of the missions that we do here at Selfridge." 

All aircraft displays are subject to last-minute changes.