Organizers planning ‘incredible’ Star Spangled Salute

  • Published
  • By Tinker Public Affairs
The skies over Tinker Air Force Base will be filled with the "sounds of freedom" June 21-22 as the United States Air Force Thunderbirds headline the 2014 Star Spangled Salute Air Show and Open House.

This performance is one of 38 in America for the Thunderbirds this year. The free event is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and co-hosted by Team Tinker, the Eastern Oklahoma Tourism Council, Aerospace America and the city of Midwest City.

"Our event organizers are planning an incredible air show with the generous help from private sectors and community partners," said Tinker AFB airshow director, Maj. Zach McKissick. "During our current fiscally-challenged climate, support from our partners is crucial to making this Air Show a success."

In addition to the Thunderbirds, the following will perform:

Randy Ball and the MIG-17 will make an appearance. He performs throughout North America, from Canada to Mexico. He has flown more than 1,000 performances.

The Commemorative Air Force's Lady Liberty A-26 will also make an appearance. Lady Liberty is owned by the American Airpower Heritage Museum. The group is totally dependent on the volunteer efforts of its members, donations from generous donors and sponsors as well as proceeds from air show appearances.

Pilot Justin Lewis of Lewis and Clark Performance will show the crowd the US Fleet Tracking Microjet. Since its conception in the 1970's, the "World's Smallest Jet" has been performing for airshow audiences all over the world.

Oklahoma City's own airshow pilot Justin Baker will also perform. "The thing I enjoy most about flying air shows is the look on the kids face when I ask them if I can give them a signed post card to send to a friend. I didn't grow up with aviation, but after my first flight in 2005 I knew what I needed to do for the rest of my life," Mr. Baker says on his blog.

Greg Koontz, flying a J-3 Piper Cub, will demonstrate that comedy isn't just for the stage. Mr. Koontz has been performing in airshows since 1974, when he joined Colonel Moser's Flying Circus and learned his trademark maneuvers.

The T-33 Heritage foundation will fly Lockheed's "Shooting Star." The foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission to share aviation history with younger generations by highlighting America's Korean War-era aircraft, honoring the brave young Airmen who flew the first generation of jet aircraft.

The Trojan Phlyers (sic) will bring the T-28 Trojan. The Phlyers are a group of aviation professionals dedicated to preserving the rich history of the North American Aviation Company's T-28 Trojan. The pilots of Trojan Phlyers perform formation and solo aerobatics, and appear each year at air shows and events across the nation.

The Oklahoma Museum of Flying, based in Bethany, will fly the P-51 Mustang fighter and the B-25 Mitchell bomber. The group is dedicated to maintenance and operation of its aircraft, keeping them airborne so future generations can continue to enjoy these historical aircraft.

This year's show will feature the largest collection of static (ground) displays in Star Spangled Salute history, including the B-1B Lancer, B-52 Stratofortress, C-17 Globemaster, CV-22 Osprey, E-6B Mercury, KC-135 Stratotanker, T-1A Jayhawk, T-6A Texan, T-38 Talon and more. Tours of the E-3 Sentry AWACS are always a big draw. Residents who see the "plane with a big disk on top" flying over Oklahoma City will have a chance to learn about the Sentry's vital national defense mission.

There will also be flybys, formations and demonstrations from other current and historical military aircraft like the E-3 Sentry, KC-135, E-6B, T-38.

In addition there will be several activities and attractions geared toward a younger audience, including a "Kid Zone" with inflatables and activities available all day with the purchase of a wrist band. Organizers always want to make the Star Spangled Salute a wonderful event for the entire family.

Food and drink concessions will be available at various locations throughout the show areas. Free water will also be available to the public at clearly marked stations.

Live music will be included in this year's event. Oklahoma's own "Lower 40" will perform on the Land Run Records stage near the entrance to the airshow and the static displays. Jake Bowers will open the day of music followed by Lower 40.

The show, parking and shuttle service from the parking areas is free. Drivers will be able to follow signs from Interstate 40 and Interstate 240, directing them to base entry points. Base access and parking will be through the Lancer Gate on Douglas Blvd and the Piazza Gate off of S.E. 74th Street. Security checks will be conducted prior to visitors loading the shuttles and may be conducted at any time on the installation.

Demonstrations and entertainment subject to schedule change. For more information visit airshow.