The skies will be filled with the rip-roaring antics of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at the upcoming "Warriors Over the Wasatch" open house and air show.
The ever-popular Thunderbirds will be joined by other such aerial performers as the Red Eagles, pilot Tim Weber, the Red Bull Jump Team and the Wings of Blue Parachute Team at the two-day event beginning Saturday, May 26, at Hill Air Force Base.
The open house begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 26, and Sunday, May 27, and runs into the late afternoon. Radio-controlled aircraft kick off the show at 10 a.m.; the flying acts begin at 10:30 a.m.
More than 300,000 spectators attended the last base air show in 2009. This year, organizers are planning for an even bigger crowd of 400,000, says coordinator Lt. Col. Juris Jansons.
The event is a popular family activity, Jansons says. People enjoy watching the variety of acts, ranging from the precise formations of the Thunderbirds to the fictitious "dog fights" of the Mig Fury Fighters.
"You get a chance to see things that you don't normally see," Jansons says.
Some acts feature aircraft from the base, such as an F-16 demonstration by the 388th Fighter Wing; "They're going to show what they do on a day-in and day-out basis," Jansons says.
The 514th Flight Test Squadron, which tests refurbished aircraft before returning them to duty, will stage an aerial review spotlighting the planes it works on.
The open house also boasts a large display of static aircraft, including the A-10 Thunderbolt, C-130 Hercules, F-22 Raptor, KC-135 Stratotanker and MH-60 Nighthawk.
As of this year, the show -- which is hosted by the base every two to three years -- adopts the permanent name "Warriors Over the Wasatch," Jansons says. Because of the holiday timing of the event, its tagline for 2012 is "A Legacy of Valor," a line taken from the Airman's Creed.
"Obviously, on Memorial Day it's important for us to recognize the sacrifices of those who've paid the ultimate price," Jansons says.
No coolers will be allowed at this year's event in the interest of speeding up security checks, Jansons says. Visitors may carry in nonperishable foods and bottled water (although free water will be available on base). One exception to the rule is that small coolers are permitted for infant foods or formulas, or for medical needs such as insulin.
Backpacks, duffel bags and briefcases may not be carried in, but small purses, small camera bags and diaper bags are OK. A complete list of restricted items is posted on the show's website, www.hill.af.mil/warriorsoverthewasatch.
Pets are not allowed, but service animals assisting persons with disabilities may attend.
Visitors may enter through the Roy, West or South gates and will then be directed to parking areas. Shuttle buses are provided for those assigned to the outlying parking lots.
Admission to the open house is free. For more information, call the event hotline at 801-777-SHOW.
-- Becky Cairns