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Thunderbirds incoming

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF U.S.AIR FORCE AND GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE thunder: The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds” perform at the “Thunder Over the Sound: The Keesler and Biloxi Air and Space Show” May 3, 2019, in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Thunderbirds will be at this year’s Grissom Air & Space Expo.
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Inspection: Tech. Sgt. Bryson Schuster, Thunderbird crew chief and maintenance team advance member, does a post-flight inspection upon landing at Grissom Air Reserve Baseon Feb. 5, 2019. Schuster visited and spoke with maintenance team members and toured facilities prior to the team’s arrival for the Grissom Air and Space Expo scheduled for Sept. 7-8.
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landing: Maj. Jason Markzon, pilot of Thunderbird 8 and the advance pilot and narrator, along with Tech Sgt. Bryson Schuster, crew chief and maintenance advance team member, land at Grissom Air Reserve Baseon Feb. 5, 2019. The Thunderbird members visited the base in preparation for the Grissom Air and Space Expo scheduled for Sept. 7-8.

BY JARED KEEVER - jkeever@perutribune.com

It’s been more than 15 years since Grissom Air Reserve Base has hosted an air show, but residents have less than a month to wait to see the next one.

The Grissom Air & Space Expo takes flight on Sept. 7 and 8 and officials say they have been hard at work planning an event that they expect will draw 45,000 visitors per day.

“By the time this comes to fruition, it’s been about 18 months of work,” Doug Hays, the base’s chief of public affairs, told the Tribune on Friday.

Hays’ team has been busy working to keep folks updated about the coming event that will see not only the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team, but also the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team.

“We will also have a single-ship F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration,” Lt. Col. Brian Thompson, air show project officer, said in one of the many stories about the show posted to the base’s website. “It’s pretty rare they attend an event with the Thunderbirds, so we’re excited to have them in our lineup.”

Static displays for the event will include a KC-135R Stratotanker, C-5 Galaxy, T-6 Texan, T-38 Talon, KC-10 Extender, A-10 Warthog, C-17 Globemaster, F-16 Fighting Falcon, AC-130-U Spooky gunship and a UH-1 helicopter, information from the base said.

Hays said officials have been meeting with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police and other authorities to help deal with the expected traffic and get visitors directed to safe parking.

The event, he said, is completely free, though reserve seating is available for the airshow with tickets priced at $25 to $35 each.

Gates open at 8:30 a.m. each day and close at 5 p.m. Most flight demonstrations are expected to happen between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. but are weather dependent.

For more information visit www.grissom.afrc.af.mil.