Sugar Land Native to Lead U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds in WOH Airshow

Photo courtesy of the Lone Star Flight Museum.

HOUSTON (Covering Fort Bend News) – In only a few short weeks, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds under the command of Sugar Land native Lt. Col. Jason Heard will return to Houston for the 33rd Annual Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Houston Airshow. The airshow will be held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21-22, at Ellington Airport.

Fans also are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for donation to the Houston Food Bank as they continue to provide disaster relief to people affected by Hurricane Harvey. Tickets are available at or by calling 888-4-FLYSHOW. On airshow performance days, general admission tickets will be sold at the gate. Once inside the gates, fans are welcome to visit reserved areas and purchase upgraded seating, if any are available.

Produced by the Commemorative Air Force, the non-profit airshow will feature a dramatic Vietnam War Tribute demonstration by a F-4 Phantom II, F-100 Super Sabre, MiG-17, Huey Cobra, and other aircraft. A very special commemorative fly-by of a B-25 will recognize the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid in World War II and honor the last living Raider, Lt. Col. Dick Cole, who just celebrated his 102nd birthday and will meet fans in the Legends and Heroes Autograph Tent. The show also will recognize the U.S. Coast Guard for their heroic rescues following Hurricane Harvey and include a demonstration of the Dolphin MH65D helicopter.

“Despite Hurricane Harvey and all of the challenges facing our area, our show will go on exactly as planned. We’ve been a Houston family tradition for 33 years, and in times like this, our show is a real boost for all us,” said Airshow Director Bill Roach. “The amazing U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds return under the direction of one of our own, native Lt. Col. Jason Heard from Sugar Land. We will have several new performers, a lot of our fan favorites, and some really fun ground activities including exotic cars and motorcycles. Of course, we also feature one of the largest assemblies of vintage aircraft of any show in the country.”

Along with the Thunderbirds, modern military aircraft performances include a roaring show kick-off by an F-16 Fighting Falcon of the Air National Guard 138th Fighter Wing of Tulsa in a full afterburner take-off. The U.S. Navy will present a tactical demonstration of the F-18 Super Hornet VFA-122.

Aerobatic pilots Elias Corey with Suzuki Airshows and Michael Wiskus of Lucas Oil Airshows will both make their Wings Over Houston debuts while fan favorite and world aerobatic champion Debbie Rihn-Harvey also will perform.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight will feature a World War II-era P-47 Thunderbolt and its newer namesake, the A-10 Thunderbolt II also known as the “Warthog.” Also flying together in an airshow for the first time will the world’s first jet fighter, a replica German ME-262, and another famed single-engine jet fighter, the British de Havilland DH-15 Vampire. Randy Ball returns to pilot the MiG-17 in a solo demonstration and will fly in the Vietnam War Tribute.

Ace pilots, distinguished military veterans, and a record-holding astronaut will meet fans in the Legends & Heroes Autograph Tent. Honored guests include Lt. Col. Dick Cole, Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson, Col. Dean Caswell, Col. Joe McPhail, Capt. Royce Williams, Brig. Gen. Steve Ritchie, Major Terry Pappas, Col. Jerry Ross – and many others.


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