LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Coming Saturday, March 14, 2020, the Fiesta of Flight Air and Space Expo will kick off at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. This free event, featuring the U.S. Air Demonstration Squadron, also known as the Thunderbirds, will include aerial acts from across the United States, static displays, and demonstrations from several agencies.
Maj. Zachary Miller, 47th Flying Training Wing Open House Director, says the event is to thank the community for its continued support, and to demonstrate what the U.S. Air Force and Laughlin does daily. “It’s an opportunity for us to open the gates of Laughlin and show the community what their tax dollars are going to,” Miller said. “It’s also a chance for kids to see what their parents or loved ones do at work, and for me personally, it’s a celebration of aviation and flying.”
The event will feature, but are not limited to, a wide variety of aircraft: from ages past like the B-25 Mitchell, C-47 Skytrain, A-26 Invader, to the modern day and future like the C-5 Galaxy, F-35 Lightning II, E-3 Sentry, A-10 Warthog, and the Air Force’s newest aircraft, the KC-46 Pegasus; Laughlin’s own T-6 Texan II, T-1 Jayhawk, T-38 Talon, and a return of the T-37 Tweet to Laughlin. “I’m excited for all the aircraft to come,” Miller said.
“I love planes, and I’m excited for this unique opportunity to bring all these aircraft into one setting and to see all the reactions from the public, and for the inspiration in children to see that this could be a future for them. “We put a lot of work into making the dissimilar flying formations possible, so I’m really excited to be able to present those,” said Capt. Mark Sajowitz, 47th Flying Training Wing air operations officer. “There’s something that’s cool about seeing the comparisons from aircraft we’ve had before to what we have now.”
Along with the show’s flying acts, the expo will feature demonstrations from Laughlin and outside agencies like the Military Working Dogs, Aerospace Physiology, U.S. Army, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The site will be split up into multiple areas for attendee’s convenience, complete with a kid’s zone, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) zone, and a static display section dubbed the “generation aviation petting zoo.”Our STEM zone will feature more hands-on exhibits for kids,” Miller said. “They’ll be able to see flight equipment and get a chance to try some of them out. We want to encourage them to get involved.”
With the air show just around the corner, all the necessary precautions have been made to ensure all attendees have a great time and stay safe while attending the show. “Our job is to make sure everyone has a good time on Saturday, and that we execute the air and space expo safely,” Miller said.
Food, concessions and merchandise will be for sale, and attendees are requested to bring either unopened water bottles or empty containers. No food and drink will be allowed to pass the gate during the expo besides water. For more information about times, events, and answers to commonly asked questions, check out the air and space expo’s social media updates on Laughlin’s Facebook and the Fiesta of Flight Instagram page at “@fiestaofflight.”