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NEWS | April 20, 2023

Aircraft arrive at Kentucky Air Guard Base for Thunder air show

By Dale Greer, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Military aircraft began arriving at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base last night in advance of this weekend’s Thunder Over Louisville air show.

The U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team was first in with America’s newest, fifth-generation fighter plane, said Lt. Col. Josh Ketterer, air show coordinator. More than 20 other aircraft will continue to arrive over the next two days.

“This year’s air show promises to be one the best ever,” said Ketterer, a C-130J Hercules pilot with the Kentucky Air Guard. “We have a tremendous variety of current and historic aircraft, from the most modern fighters to legendary warbirds like the P-51 Mustang and F-86 Sabre. This is a great opportunity for the public to see the capabilities of their current military aircraft and enjoy the legacy of past aviators.”

The show, which kicks off Saturday at 3 p.m. along the banks of the Ohio River, will feature performances by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Teams, the Ohio Air National Guard’s F-16 Vipers, the U.S. Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and Golden Knights Parachute Team, and the Kentucky Air National Guard’s new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

Other events include a parachute insertion into the Ohio River by members of the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron and aerial demonstrations from tankers, close-air support aircraft, UPS Airlines, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Kentucky Air Guard is once again serving as the base of operations for Thunder’s military aircraft and aircrews, a task that requires hundreds of hours of planning and support each year.

“It’s a great honor and privilege to help host this air show for the city and region,” Ketterer said.

Saturday’s show concludes at sunset, to be followed by the largest annual fireworks display in North America.

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