KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Prepare to feel the roar in your chest that screams freedom as jets zip over the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Keesler Air Force Base and the city of Biloxi are partnering to host the Thunder over the Sound 2023 Air and Space Show, April 29 - 30.
Air shows provide an opportunity to showcase U.S. Air Force capabilities and allow civilians to meet the service members who serve and fly.
“Before I joined the Air Force I used to go to air shows and I'd watch the Thunderbirds,” said Staff Sgt. Austin Guerra, Thunderbirds demonstration team advance crew chief. “I bought a replica F-16 Fighting Falcon at one of the air shows when I was younger and I forgot about it. Then, I joined the team and when I went back home I found it again and it was a Thunderbird.”
This air show also promotes the local area partnership between the base and the surrounding community.
“We are particularly excited about this air show, as it is the first one at Keesler Air Force Base since 2019,” said Lt. Col. John Connors, Air Show director. “This also provides an opportunity to promote local area partnerships between the base and the surrounding community.”
Additionally, the theme for this air show is Heritage and Honor. The air show will honor Keesler’s history and today’s mission, embracing innovative training and community partnerships.
“We have booked several heritage airframes that were previously assigned to Keesler Air Force Base for pilot training, such as the T-28 Trojan and C-21 Learjet,” said Connors. “There will also be a re-enactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Keesler, complete with Japanese Zeros and a large pyrotechnic display simulating bombings.”
There will be civilian crowd viewing areas at both Biloxi Beach and the flight line at Keesler. Acts such as Tora! Tora! Tora!, the Trojan Phlyers, Patty Wagstaff and Chef Pitts are scheduled to be performing over Keesler in the morning to early afternoon while the beach is planned to have several aircraft flyovers as well as the Thunderbirds aerobatic performance in the late afternoon.
Anticipated performers consist of:
Thunderbirds - The demonstration is six F-16 Fighting Falcons performing formation flying and solo routines, displaying the power and agile capabilities of the mighty frontline fighter.
Wings of Blue – The Wings of Blue has a demonstration team, appearing at sporting events, air shows and other venues. Their competition team represents the Air Force in precision parachuting computing against teams across the country. The Wings of Blue also runs the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Basic Freefall Parachuting course, known as Airmanship 490. The team serves as jumpmasters and instructors, forging leaders of character through this unique training experience.
Tora! Tora! Tora! - A living history lesson on how the course of U.S. history was changed on Dec. 7, 1941, complete demonstration with Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” and a large pyrotechnic display.
Patty Wagstaff - Three-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, inductee into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
AceMaker – Gregory “Wired” Colyer flying demonstration with T-33
Jet Provost Aerobatic - The Provost is a British jet trainer designed for use as a basic to intermediate jet trainer. Side-by-side seating with dual controls which make it ideal for jet familiarization flights. The Provost accelerates quickly and offers an exhilarating performance.
Trojan Phlyers - The pilots of Trojan Phlyers perform formation and solo aerobatics and appear each year at air shows and events across the nation reminding us of the engineering brilliance and manufacturing excellence of the former North American Aviation Company.
Chief Pitts - The Pitts Special is an iconic airplane that lends itself well to beautiful rolling, curving lines, snap rolls, and excellent outside capability. You'll see these elements blended together over the course of the show, including cutting in and out of the show line to show depth.
Fight Jets Inc. – Includes an air demonstration with the MiG-17F
Static displays include:
T-1 Jayhawk T-6 Texan A-10 Thunderbolt II C-17 GlobeMaster III
CV-22 Osprey AC-130 MC-130 U-28 Draco
Pilatus PC-12 C-182 Skylane LT-6 Mosquito C-130 Flying Jennies
WC-130 AH-64 Apache Lakota UH-72 Sikorsky MH-60
MH-65 Dolphin T-45 Goshawk UH-60 Blackhawk HC-144 Ocean Sentry
L-39 Albatros SBD Dauntless
Since 2009, this will be Keesler's sixth Air show. Make sure to save the date for Thunder over the Sound 2023 Air and Space Show.