Air Power Over Altus Airshow reaches 30K

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Altus Air Force Base hosted the 2017 Air Power Over Altus airshow this past weekend on the installation to approximately 30,000 people from the local community and throughout the U.S.

Airshows are used to showcase Air Force capabilities as well as to lead to potential recruitment of onlookers. Airshows also enhance the local community ties and strengthen moral among the troops.

The airshow had multiple ground displays as well as aerial demonstrations for public viewing. Some of the static displays and performances included the U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey, a Boeing U.S. Air Force KC-46A Pegasus simulator, Tora Tora Tora and the U.S. Thunderbirds.

“I joined the Thunderbirds for the unique opportunity to represent the Air Force and travel around to different locations and interact with the local community and tell the story about what the Air Force is doing,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Warren Smith, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds maintenance officer.  “Every single airshow site is it’s own animal to deal with. We’ve operated out of civilian and base airports, each airfield we go into has a different parking location and setup location.”

Photo
A U.S. Air Force Thunderbird soars through the air during a performance at the Air Power Over Altus Airshow, Sept. 9, 2017, Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Thunderbirds, performs precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of Air Force high performance aircraft to people throughout the world. The squadron exhibits the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Kirby Turbak/Released).
Photo Air Power Over Altus Airshow reaches 30K
A U.S. Air Force Thunderbird soars through the air during a performance at the Air Power Over Altus Airshow, Sept. 9, 2017, Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Thunderbirds, performs precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of Air Force high performance aircraft to people throughout the world. The squadron exhibits the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Kirby Turbak/Released).

The flightline was fully prepped with food vendors, display shops and the U.S. Army Center Fire Rock Band to entertain people between acts. A kid zone was also setup as well.

Airshows also provide a unique opportunity to those who choose to enlist at the actual show, being sworn in by the Thunderbirds.

“Its pretty cool to sign in with the Thunderbirds,” said Jake Ward, U.S. Air Force recruit. “They said one percent of the Air Force gets to, so it is pretty cool that I was able to.”

Even the Thunderbirds, headline performers at airshows throughout the Department of Defense, found something special at Air Power Over Altus.

“One of the cool things here is the C-17s, KC-135s and the new KC-46,” said Smith. “Seeing those aircraft here is really cool because we catch a lot of tankers when we move around. Our jets can really only go about two hours before they need to refuel. It is really cool to show our appreciation for the tanker community and see how they’re not only able to get us but all the other fighters in the DOD, across the ocean, in the fight, wherever they need to be.”

While the KC-46 only had a simulator present at the airshow, the first aircraft is scheduled to arrive early in 2018, adding yet another capability in the Altus Air Force Base mission of forging combat mobility forces and deploying Airmen warriors.