Air show returns this weekend at Offutt Air Force Base
If you look up in the sky this weekend in the Omaha area, you might see some unique aircraft.
That’s because the Defenders of Freedom Air & Space Show is returning to Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue.
Following a one-year absence due to heavy deployment of the Offutt-based 55th Wing’s airmen, the air show is back this year and is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 8 a.m. both days.
The F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team is among the headlining acts. The team, which performs precision aerial maneuvers to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the world’s only operational fifth-generation fighter aircraft, is stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia.
Since its debut in 2007, the team has performed more than 150 demonstrations.
The F-35 Lightning II and P-51 Mustang Heritage Flight will be among the highlights of the air show, as will the powerful B-2 Spirit stealth bomber that recently was announced as a flying display for both days of the air show.
Aerial demonstrations also will be provided by: Rifle Airshows, Gregory W. Colyer/Ace Maker Airshows, Radial Rumble and more. The Re-Max parachute jump team will be making jumps.
Ground exhibits include a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) area for kids, the National Weather Service, robotics team, simulators and a climbing wall.
A variety of aircraft not flying in the show, such as the EA-18 Growler, will be on display.
The U.S. Air Force Academy Sabre Drill Team and the Heartland of American Band’s rock band “Raptor” will be performing.
“We have a great show lined up from start to finish,” said Maj. Hunter Horste, 55th Wing Air Show director. “Not only do we have some incredible aerial demonstrations on the schedule, but we have some really unique statics and ground demos lined up as well.”
Air show organizers will pause near the end of the show on Sunday to remember and honor the base’s namesake, Lt. Jarvis Offutt, who died nearly 100 years ago flying aircraft for the U.K. Royal Air Force during World War I.
Members of the RAF will be in attendance and honor the Omaha native with a flag folding ceremony during the F-35 heritage flight.
Admission to the air show is free.
Parking will be available on and off Offutt Air Force Base. Both parking options will have free shuttles running the duration of the show. Off-base parking locations are South Roads Mall, Bellevue University, Bellevue East High School and Bellevue West High School.
Visitors are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs and cameras. Transparent water bottles and personal umbrellas also will be allowed on the air show grounds.
There will be concession booths where food and gifts will be sold. Food options will include pizza, barbecue, ice cream, shaved ice, funnel cakes, cheese curds, kettle corn, pitas and more.
Pets are not allowed on the air show grounds.
Updates about the show will be shared on Twitter (@OffuttAirshow), Instagram (offuttairshow) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/theoffuttairshow/).
A free smart phone application, called Offutt Airshow, is available for download which features maps, directions and available parking.