Schedule taking shape for Grissom Air & Space Expo

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Benjamin Mota
  • 434 ARW Public Affairs

The Grissom Air & Space Expo is scheduled for Sept. 7-8, and the event is taking shape quickly.

The event will feature the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Golden Knights as well as a host of other flyers, demonstrations and displays.

“Our team has been working for more than a year now to make this event special,” said Col. Larry Shaw, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. “You can really see it starting to take shape, and I’m excited!”

While the lineup and program continues to evolve, guests should know the gates open at 8:30 a.m. on both days, and close at 5 p.m.

“The bulk of the flying will be from around 11 a.m.-4 p.m.,” said Lt. Col. Brian Thompson, air show project officer. “We want to put on a great, but safe show, so weather will have a hand in the final flying times.”

In addition to the main acts, fly-bys of multiple aircraft are in the works, and being finalized.

“We will also have a single-ship F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration,” Thompson said. “It’s pretty rare they attend an event with the Thunderbirds, so we’re excited to have them in our lineup.”

When not looking up at the sky, those wanting to get closer to military hardware on the ground will have plenty of options as well.

The static display lineup is taking shape.

Statics are scheduled to include KC-135R Stratotanker, C-5 Galaxy, T-6 Texan, T-38 Talon, KC-10 Extender, A-10 Warthog, C-17 Globemaster, F-16 Fighting Falcon, AC-130-U Spooky gunship, UH-1 helicopter with more in the works.

“Every day we’re talking to people using contacts and calling in favors to get more aircraft here,” Shaw said. “It helps when you have the 4th Air Force commander coming and the backing of the Air Force Reserve Command’s commander.”

With an estimated daily attendance of 45,000, one of the most coveted amenities will be seating to watch the flying acts.

Attendees can take the legwork out of a search for the best vantage point with an option to purchase reserved seating that boasts an excellent view of the show.

Reserved seating is family friendly, with tickets priced at $25-$35 each for ages 6 and over. Ticket prices include access to a general admission seating area and a separate concession area with adult beverages available for purchase.

“This is a great way to get an excellent view of the flying demonstrations,” said Tim Sparks, 434th Force Support Squadron marketing and commercial sponsorship coordinator.

More information on that is available at www. under the frequently asked questions tab.

To keep the kids busy, families can take advantage of a free kids’ zone during the event.

“There are a lot of plans converging as we get near,” said Thompson. “The best way people can get the latest is by checking out our web page at”

To take that one step further, the base is asking people with social media pages to share the event with friends and family. The event link is located at:

“We don’t have a marketing budget, so we’re asking our friends in the community to help get the word out about our air show by sharing our event on their social media accounts,” said Douglas Hays, 434th ARW public affairs chief.

The Grissom Air & Space Expo is the first major community relations event since 2003.

“Air shows are a great way for our friends and neighbors to see what Grissom is all about,” Hays said. “The whole intent is to inspire people to join the military, retain the quality force we have and to inspire visitors by highlighting the capabilities and professionalism of the Air Force.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

Stay connected with the 434th ARW on Facebook and Twitter.