‘The One You Don’t Want to Miss’: Hill Air Force Base Air Show Returns After 4 Years


Barry “Bdog” Hancock pilots a T-6G during the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show at Hill Air Force Base on Saturday, June 23, 2018. After a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show returns to Utah and this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. (James Wooldridge, Deseret News)

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE — After a four-year hiatus, the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show returns to Hill Air Force Base in Utah, and this year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever.

“We’re very excited, it’s the biggest show we’ve had in many, many years. We’ve got more statics than ever before, and a lot more flights than ever before, so people are going to be thrilled with what they will be able to experience it,” said Kevin Ireland, executive director of the Utah Air Show Foundation.

Static planes are parked, giving viewers the chance to get an up close and personal experience.

The air show will take place June 25-26 and will feature the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds alongside more than a dozen world-class performers, including the F-35A Lightning II display team from Hill Air Force Base.

In addition, a wide range of civil and military aircraft will be on display, including helicopters, fighters, bombers, large cargo carriers and tankers, as well as military ground transport and combat vehicles.

Ireland said the show will start around 9:45 a.m. and end around 4:30 p.m., depending on the flight schedule and schedule.

The best part, he said, is that admission is free.

Gavry Strelka, 9, watches the 388th Fighter Wing F-35A attack demonstration during the Wasatch Air and Space Show at Hill Air Force Base Saturday, June 23, 2018. Behind him, Mark and Carrie Strelka watch.  After a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show returns to Utah and this year's event will be bigger and better than ever.
Gavry Strelka, 9, watches the 388th Fighter Wing F-35A attack demonstration during the Wasatch Air and Space Show at Hill Air Force Base Saturday, June 23, 2018. Behind him, Mark and Carrie Strelka watch. After a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show returns to Utah and this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. (Photo: James Wooldridge, Deseret News)

Traditionally, the air show takes place every two years and the pandemic has forced a cancellation in 2020, meaning the excitement around this year’s event is more palpable than ever.

“We have people from eight different states coming to see this show because it’s one of the biggest in the western United States,” Ireland said. “People actually plan their family vacations by stopping in Hill to see this show because it’s such an event and it’s so big.”

Along with the impressive aerial and static exhibits, the show will also feature “STEM City,” an exhibit where visitors can learn about SpaceX and NASA, as well as other aerospace engineering companies.

The air show is not only fun and playful. Ireland said it also serves as a crucial recruiting tool for the Air Force to recruit new airmen.

“If you talk to a pilot who flies there, 9 times out of 10 they’ll say, ‘I had learned or wanted to learn to fly because I went to an air show,'” Ireland said.

“When I talk to people applying to the Air Force Academy, the Air Force bug bit when they came to the Hill Air Force Base air show when they were just 12 years old,” said said Lt. Col. Joseph Michaels. , airshow coordinator for the Warriors Over the Wasatch air and space show.

Even with two more years to prepare for this year’s show, Michaels said planning and preparation for the show usually begins two years before each show. So this one has been discussed for years.

The Thunderbirds perform at the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show at Hill Air Force Base on Saturday, June 23, 2018.
The Thunderbirds perform at the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show at Hill Air Force Base on Saturday, June 23, 2018. (Photo: James Wooldridge, Deseret News)

“When we culminate with the actual event, over this weekend, we will have over 1,200 volunteers around the facility – that takes a lot of work,” Michaels said. “At 30 days, we are definitely in the rigor of getting things in place and running to make sure this event is a success on June 25, when it starts. »

The show also makes an economic contribution of epic proportions to Utah. On the weekend of the show, Ireland said between 550,000 and 650,000 people would flock to the base – making it the state’s largest single event – and pump between $50 million and $60 million into surrounding local economies.

With such expected attendance, getting to the event may pose challenges for some.

Instead of risking getting stuck in traffic, Michaels encouraged spectators to use public transportation.

“You can get on the FrontRunner every half hour from all points south and north and take the train to Clearfield station, hop on a bus (and) they’ll take you straight to the flight line” , said Michaels. “They do a great package for a family of four for $15 – that’s the way to go, you don’t want to get involved in traffic.”

Although FrontRunner does not typically run on Sundays, Michaels confirmed it will take place on Sunday, June 26, making the air show one of the only events in the state where the FrontRunner operates on a Sunday.

People can find more information about the show, as well as how best to prepare for the hot June temperatures here.

“It will be a big hit,” Michaels said. “It’s the one you don’t want to miss, that’s for sure.”

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Logan Stefanich is a reporter for KSL.com, covering Southern Utah communities, education, business, and military news.

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