Tinker Air Show Takes Flight - MetroFamily Magazine
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Tinker Air Show Takes Flight

US Navy Blue Angels

by Lindsay Cuomo

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

After a 4-year hiatus, Oklahoma’s largest air show is back with fan favorites, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and the USAF F-35 Single Ship Demo, returning as the headlining performers for the free two-day show on July 1 and 2. For several decades, Tinker Air Force Base has hosted some form of an airshow event giving hundreds of thousands of visitors an opportunity to peek inside Oklahoma’s largest single-site employer. Serving as a free open house for the base, the air show invites families of all ages to learn more about the military and potential careers in the aerospace industry, which has grown to become our state’s second-largest industry.

E-3 AWACS

“This is our chance to thank the community and provide an opportunity for people to come on base to learn about what goes on, to kind of pull back the curtains if you will,” said Chris Moler, the air show’s director of community partnerships. “We are so excited to welcome everyone back!”

In addition to a full slate of entertaining, high-flying acts, STEM will once again be at the forefront of this year’s free community event. Dubbed STEM City, an airplane hanger will be filled with a variety of hands-on activities for kids ages 5 through those in high school. They can engage with drone tech, robotics, LEGOs, snap circuits and more while exploring potential career opportunities.

Wings of Blue Parachute Team

“We want to encourage kids to get involved in the field of aerospace, whether in the private or public sector,” said Moler. “[STEM City] is designed to excite kids and encourage them to learn more about the many jobs available that require a STEM-related education.”

Other educational opportunities include a mobile movie theater showing films about the Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps, as well as the Women Airforce Service Pilots, WASP, who served in World War II. Attendees can also walk inside an E-3 Sentry AWACS, explore a full-scale E-7 exhibit of the Air Force’s new global defense plane, and get an up-close look at the Blue Angels’ C-130J Super Hercules and other static exhibits.

The Jelly Belly Interstate Cadet flown by Kent Pietsch

Stand-out air acts include a World War II reenactment by Tora, Tora, Tora including the famous “Wall of Fire”; the USAF Wings of Blue Parachute Team; Jelly Belly Comedy Air Act; Matt Younkin and his Twin Beech aerobatic air act; T-33 demo flight; Tuskegee Airman Red Tail P-51,  Adam Baker and his Extra 300 aerobatic air act and more.

Admission, parking and shuttles are free, but Moler advises families to arrive early. The event is always very popular and the gates will close when capacity is reached. Gates open at 8 a.m. and aerial demonstrations begin at 11 a.m. All acts are expected to perform each day but the order of performers may change. Both shows will end with the Blue Angels.

Attendees are encouraged to park at Building 9001, formerly the old General Motors Plant, off SE 74th Street. Shuttle buses will run continuously throughout both days. Most of the attractions are free to enjoy with the exception of a VIP area, the After Burner Chalet, and the Kidz Zone. Flight Line Club VIP tickets will be available soon and a wristband for the Kidz Zone costs $20.

Important tips to help you enjoy your day at the air show:

  • Download the air show app to access important information including a parking and event map. AF Connect is available at the App Store and Google Play.
  • If you can’t take it on a plane, you can’t bring it on the base. Visitors will have to go through a security checkpoint before boarding the shuttle buses or entering the event area.
  • No smoking or vaping is allowed.
  • Coolers are not permitted. Vendors will have beverages for sale and water will be available free of charge. Small diaper bags and purses are permitted.
  • Hearing protection is important for everyone but especially for infants and children.
  • Bring sunscreen and/or a hat because shade is limited.
  • Blankets, lawn chairs and strollers are permitted. Seating is not provided.
  • ATMs will be available on-site.
  • Guests with wheelchairs, strollers or wagons are encouraged to enter through the Hruskocy or Lancer Gates.

To learn more, visit tinkerairshow.org or tinker.af.mil/TinkerAirShow.

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