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Davis-Monthan Air Force Base

Thunderbirds prep for D-M Open House air show

Two days of aerial demonstrations at Tucson air base

The Thunderbirds, the Air Force's elite fighter jet demonstration team, screamed across the desert skies Friday afternoon in a practice run for VIPs and guests ahead of their weekend performance.

The Thunderbirds are in Tucson performing as one of the demonstration groups at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's "Thunder and Lightning Over the Desert" Open House air show.

The team was established at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale in 1953 where its name was inspired by the Native American cultures of the Southwest. In 1956, the Thunderbirds moved to the unit's current home at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, according to the team's website.

Performances by various aerial acrobatics pilots, as well as Customs and Border Protection and military parachutists will be featured both Saturday and Sunday.

D-M officials announced early Saturday morning that despite the rain, the show will go on. The weather may shake up the schedule a bit, but performance announcements will be made on the air show's Facebook page.

In addition to an umbrella, a light sweater may be necessary as the weather cools. The high temperature is expected to reach 63 and it will be breezy with winds expected to pick up as the day goes by. Wind gusts could reach 32 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday is expected to be a calmer day for the show with partly cloudy skies and a high around 69, the NSW predicted.

Midtown feels boom

Tucson Police Department said 911 dispatchers received about 90 calls beginning around 2:25 p.m., from people reporting a sonic boom that shook homes and business and caused some damage.

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The sonic boom was caused when one of the Thunderbirds' jets broke the sound barrier.

Anyone who has any damage from the sonic boom, can call Davis-Monthan at 228-5242.

Traffic

For those attending, traffic will be directed into D-M from Golf Links Road through the Swan Road and Craycroft Road gates.

The city is warning motorists of traffic changes in the area of the base during the air show on Saturday and Sunday that will end by 6 p.m.:

  • Westbound traffic on Golf Links Road will be reduced to one lane at Swan and Craycroft roads.
  • Eastbound and westbound lanes will be closed on Golf Links from Ajo Way/Aviation to Wilmot Road.
  • Southbound lanes will be closed on Swan and Craycroft roads from 29th Street to Golf Links.
  • There will be no left turns from southbound Craycroft and southbound Swan to eastbound 29th.
  • Eastbound travel lanes on Golf Links and on 29th Street will be closed at Swan Road.
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Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.com

The Thunderbirds perform a stunt with their F-16s over Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on Friday.

If you go

  • What: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's Open House air show
  • When: Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 8:30 a.m., flying starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m.
  • Where: D-M, enter off Golf Links Road at the entrances from Craycroft and Swan roads
  • Admission: Free
  • Parking: On base and free

D-M's rules for bringing items on base

Approved

  • Carts for physically challenged/handicapped visitors
  • Service animals for physically challenged visitors
  • One clear plastic (no glass) water bottle with water per guest
  • Strollers
  • Diaper bags
  • Baby food, baby water, formula, baby milk (no glass containers)

Prohibited

  • Coolers
  • Outside food, beverages, or alcohol
  • Large backpacks, purses, or camera bags (larger than18x24 inches)
  • Camelbacks
  • Paint
  • Balloons, kites, sports equipment (footballs, kites, etc)
  • Illegal drugs
  • Weapons (including brass knuckles, all size knives, Leatherman type tools, mace, pepper spray, box cutters, nunchucks and all firearms)
  • Military uniforms worn by non-military members
  • Bicycles, scooters, skates, skateboards, go-carts
  • Pets (exception for service animals, pets will not be left unattended in the parking area or inside a parked vehicle)
  • Umbrellas, folding canopies
  • Chairs and folding chairs
  • Political activity/demonstrations and associated items