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KGUN 9 Tucson News

Aviation lovers can flock to Davis-Monthan Airshow

By Craig Smith,


There’s plenty to do besides the street fair. Every other year Davis Monthan Air Force Base hosts a huge airshow, Thunder and Lightning over Arizona, it is packed with a big range of aircraft and some of the best pilots in the world.

It takes a lot of practice to fly with the precision you see at an air show. Whether it’s the Air Force Thunderbirds…

Or any of the long list of other performers.

We were lucky to have the chance to see the show rehearsals. Families from the base, veterans and some invited groups could watch too.

Lynne Severe came in with a group of aviation aficionados from Green Valley.

“I grew up loving airplanes. I would sneak out of the house at night, as a little kid, with my friends, and we would go to the airport, it used to be called Idlewild. Now it’s JFK and I would watch the planes and run back in the house before my parents woke up.”

Besides planes to see in the air, there are plenty of planes parked where you can see them up close.

Mike Doyle brought in a Stearman biplane through the Wings of Flight Foundation. The Stearman was usually the first plane pilots trained in before they flew in World War Two.

“It survived the war and then after the war was surplus. The farmers bought them and turned them into crop dusters and that's pretty much the history of this airplane. Went from war service, straight out to work in the fields as a crop duster until mid-70s.”

Davis Monthan is ready to welcome thousands of people when the gates open at 9 a.m. But it’s still a military base so there are some security rules to remember.

Don’t bring any weapons or even toys that look like weapons. That includes no pocket knives or multi-tools.

No marijuana or CBD oil.

No walking sticks. Canes for medical needs are ok.

No drinks or even water. Bring a clear plastic container. You’ll be able to fill it on base.

Big bags are forbidden and so are backpacks you cannot see through.

Air Force Captain Mikel McGann says, “Clear backpacks are okay. Anything large, I’m thinking like a large purse or bigger backpacks are not allowed.”

You can find a more complete list on or the website for the Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona airshow .---and find other information to help you enjoy a day at the show.

Related article: Davis-Monthan 2023 Thunder & Lightning Over Arizona Air Show March 25-26.

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9 . With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter .

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