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70 Years of Thunder - Luke AFB Open House and Air Show

For up to date information please visit Luke Air Force Base 2011 Airshow and Open House

General Info:

March 19-20, 2011 (Saturday and Sunday)
09:00-16:00 (9AM – 4PM)
Concessions will be available to purchase food and drinks. Cooler stations with free water will be located throughout the show area.

Parking Info

Click on the image to the left for a larger and printable view of map.

Be advised traffic in the areas surrounding Luke Air Force Base will be heavy on March 19 – 20, 2011 so make sure to plan for it.  There will be limited access between Camelback Rd. and Olive Ave. and between Reems Rd. and the AZ Loop 101.

University of Phoenix/Cardinals stadium has an event Sat & Sun and there will be a Phoenix Coyotes game on Sunday which might compound traffic.

Be sure to check the AZ Central website for current traffic conditions and ADOT road closures including possibly the I-10/101 interchange.

A $10 parking fee for cars, $20 for buses and RVs will be collected in both parking lots A & B (more info here).

On-base parking will ONLY be available to handicapped individuals and parking pass holders.

If you have a state-provided handicapped decal, proceed to the North Gate located on Litchfield Rd. for entry.

Please check back often for additional traffic pattern and off-base parking locations information.

Performers and Flying Schedule

The performers’ schedule is being developed.  Please check back soon for updates.

Scheduled to perform:
USAF Thunderbirds
USA Golden Knights
ACC F-22 Demo

ACC A-10 West Demo
ACC Heritage P-40
ACC Heritage F-4
USN F/A-18  E/F Demo
Twin Beech 18 (Matt Younkin)
Acemaker T-33
Deer Valley Warbirds
Red Bull Aviation
Geico (Tim Weber)
Red Eagles Air Sports

Featuring USAF Thunderbirds and the U.S. ARMY Golden Knights

Static Displays

E-8                            TBM-3                  Piper Sport
E-3                            AD-4N                  RV6
C-5                            O-2                       CTLS
C-130                       P-51                     YO-55
HC-130                    B-25                     R44 II
KC-135                    B-17
B-52                         T-6
B-1                            T-28
F-15C                       C-47
A-10                          L-39
F-16                          MIG-17
F-18                          CJ-6
F-5                             L-9
GAF Tornado          Fi-156
MQ-1                        Saberliner 60
T-6                            Gulfstream III
T-38                          Piper Navajo
T-1                            NA 50
TC-12                       Beech A45
C-21                         Cessna 172
UH-1                        Cessna 182
UH-60                      Cessna 210
HH-60                      P-28
AH-64                      Iskra

Safety Issues

All purses and other allowable bags will be searched prior to entry.

Permitted items
–Strollers and wagons for toddlers
(personal belongings should not be carried in strollers and wagons)
–Diaper Bags for guests with small children
–Women’s purses
–Handicapped items such as wheelchairs
–Cameras, video recorders and binoculars (visitors will be required to demonstrate such items are operable)
–Official Service Dogs
–Lawn Chairs
A recent change in policy allows guests to bring folding chairs to the Open House. Security Forces asks all chairs be removed from bags prior to arrival at the security checkpoint.
–Umbrellas are also allowed

Prohibited items
–No outside food is allowed… **UPDATE: One sealed, full, plastic bottle of water is allowed per person. **
–Weapons of any kind including pocket knives, pocket tools, scissors, box cutters, billy clubs, large, heavy chain-link jewelry or belts, mace and pepper spray
–Firearms of any type
–Toys that resemble firearms
–Spray paint and Silly String
–Glass containers of any kind
–Illegal Drugs
–Skateboards, Heelies, Roller skates or Rollerblades
–Ruck sacks, backpack

Recommended items to bring
–Hearing Protection

Due to aircraft operations, no smoking is allowed on the flightline.

Contact Information

Air Operations
Please contact Major Brandon L. McBrayer at 623-856-3379 or email him at for any questions in Air Operations

Assistant Air Operations
Please contact Major Ivan Normandia by email at for any questions in Air Operations

Aerial Acts
Please contact Major Scott Meng at 623-856-2927 or email him at for any questions in Aerial Acts

Ground Demonstration
Please contact Captain Brent Ritzke at 623-856-8802 or email him at for any questions on Ground Demonstration

Static Display
Please contact Major Mike Hurt at 623-856-4567 or email him at for any questions on static display

Commercial Sponsorship
Please contact Ms. Elaine Meissner at 623-856-3245 or email her at for any questions about commercial sponsorship

Please contact Jodi Jordan at 623-856-6012 or email her at for any questions about media

Join the discussion 62 Comments

  • Karen O'Reilly says:

    My father is unable to walk very far, is there any seating? Any reserved seating?

    Thank you

    • trout says:

      If you have a state-provided handicapped decal, proceed to the North Gate located on Litchfield Rd. for entry. There should be a section for handicap seating. Check with officials when entering the base entrance gates. More information about parking for handicap and event details is available here.

  • Glendon Reichert says:

    The list of allowable (and not allowed) items does not include umbrellas, So, can specators bring umbrellas along with their lawn chairs?

  • Jim says:

    Your list of approved items does not mention water bottles. Are plastic and/or aluminum water bottles allowed?

  • eric hahn says:

    Are you allowed to bring in a pop up shade tent?

  • Ken Jablonski says:

    I have children with special diet requirements due to food allergies. Can we bring food into the event for them to meet their dietary requirements.

    • trout says:

      Any person who requires a special needs diet will be permitted to bring the food onto the base as long as they can show proof of the need.

  • Paul Nordberg says:

    I’m from out of town and bought tickets for the Thunder Club which includes a parking pass. I can only find instructions for Handicapped entry to Luke AFB. Do I use the same gate? Where should we enter? Thanks

    • trout says:

      Come up Northern, and there will be an entrance JUST WEST of Litchfield Rd. (They are actually cutting a hole in the fence for the Air Show). There will be signage posted for THUNDERCLUB PARKING. Follow the signs. You must have your parking pass displayed to enter. There will be parking available for Thunderclub members there, with a pathway to walk to the flight line.”

  • Dave Wagner says:

    Handicap parking directions: I retired at Luke AFB in 1995. Access to the North gate… Can I turn south onto Litchfield rd from Northern Ave..

  • Barbara says:

    For the Thunderclub tickets are they good only on certain days or are they good for either Sat or Sunday

    • trout says:

      I’m not sure. Try contacting Steve?

      Cost to be a Thunder Club member is $120 per person, per day, children two-years-old and younger are free. Thunder Club tickets can be purchased in advance at, by calling Steve Winklebleck at (623) 856-6502, or at the show.

    • trout says:

      The Thunder Club pass/parking pass is only good for the specific day they purchased it for, and the day should be clearly marked on their tickets.

  • Mike says:

    does “folding chairs” include the canvass-type, camping chairs?

  • My father is on a diabetic and cardiac diet. What type of proof is needed to validate his dietary restrictions? He is in his 80’s and hell bend on not missing the great Luke Days. Thanks

    • trout says:

      A doctor’s note indicating he has a special diet will allow him to bring in his own food; and that food should be ‘special’ food and not food that can typically be purchased from a vendor at the show.

  • Kim Meehan says:

    How can military families living off base access base during this weekend?

    • trout says:

      The Kachina and Ocotillo Gates will be open throughout the Open House to military personnel. Those coming on base will only be able to park on the east side as the bridge connecting the east and west sides will be closed beginning at 0800 both Saturday and Sunday (only to be accessed by bridge pass holders or the shuttle bus). A shuttle bus will be available for those parking on the east side and for those living in housing. A map of the shuttle route is available here.

  • gordon jensen says:

    my father is 93, retired lt col usaf pilot and is indicating he would like to see one last airshow. we do not have a disabled person parking tag. can we still uses the handicap parking area. he can only walk a short distance. thank you

    • trout says:

      Handicapped parking is only accessible to those with a state provided handicapped decal or license plate. Since the 93-year-old can only walk a short distance, if he still wants to come, we recommend you park in the Park and Ride lot on Peoria Ave. and pay to use the shuttle. I believe the shuttle drops people off closer to the flightline than even handicapped parking. The problem would be with standing in line to board the shuttle. Same situation for if you come early through the Kachina Gate (since he is retired military and would presumably have an ID card) and parked on the east side. He would still have to stand and wait for the shuttle.

  • David says:

    We bought 2 Thunder Club passes. But we did not specifically receive a parking pass. Is the parking pass implied by having an admission ticket?

  • Carol says:

    Are Thunder Club Parking Passes good for Saturday and/or Sunday or color coded so they can be used on specific days?

    • trout says:

      Thunder Club tickets should have come with a specific parking ticket which is required to access the Chalet parking located off of Northern Ave. just west of Litchfield. You need to call the number of the EasyTix site from which you purchased the ticket in order to get that parking pass.

    • trout says:

      The Thunder Club pass/parking pass is only good for the specific day you purchased it for, and the day should be clearly marked on their tickets.

  • Steve says:

    Is a camera bag allowed for extra lenses etc.?

    • trout says:

      Camera bags are allowed but can only contain camera equipment. Visitors will need to have the bag open and ready for inspection and may be asked to demonstrate the equipment.

  • Carol says:

    My Thunder Club Parking Pass has March 19-20, 2011 on it which is why I wanted to make sure I can use it either day. I am part of a company sponsoring the event, not someone who purchased a ticket for a specific day so I just wanted to double check. My pass is mustard yellow color if that means anything?? Thank you so much for your help!

    • trout says:

      If the pass is mustard yellow, I don’t think it is for the Thunder Club, especially if you are part of a company sponsoring the event. There are a couple of ‘corporate’ chalets. Perhaps this is what you are talking about? I am assuming some of the corporate chalets were reserved for both days, in which case in could make sense you may go either day.

  • mike says:

    If you want a Parking pass for the Thunder Club you must go to the ITT office on base by Friday and pick them up. They only have a few left as of today (Thursday). Only the first 400 people will receive one. Ifr you don’t have one you cannot park on base and will have to find other parking off base.

  • Bob says:

    I have a military reserve id and my girl friend has a spouse of a military service member who passed away. Do we use have to use the general public enterence to the base and if so, are we allowed to bring guests or do they have to stand in the long line?

    • trout says:

      Any military or civilians who access the base prior to 0800 can park on the east side of the base. A shuttle will run every 30 minutes from the east side of the base to the flightline. Parking on the west side is restricted to media, handicapped, vendors, etc. The bridge will close at 0800.

      Also see the note about reserve ID cards requiring registration with DBIDS (Defense Biometric Identification System).

  • Kip says:

    Is there general seating available?

  • Laura says:

    I am an employee of the fitness center and a civilian with an official id, is there any special parking availavble for employees of Luke AFB? If so, can I bring my family members with me?

    • trout says:

      Members with reserve ID card can bring people in their vehicles through any gate before 0800 and the Kachina gate after 0800, but ONLY if they register their card in DBIDS (Defense Biometric Identification System). If not, you will have to park at one of the public areas and come in like everyone else.

  • Apastron says:

    Where is the Performers and Flying Schedule? Would like to have an idea the time performers are scheduled to be in the air before arriving at the airshow.

    “The performers’ schedule is being developed. Please check back soon for updates.”

    • trout says:

      Actual air performers schedule has not been announced yet — however we expect air performance to commence at 1100. More information will be available tomorrow.

  • donnie edgell says:

    Laser pointers should be on the no items list.

  • Merilee says:

    I see that camera bags are allowed, but our camera bag is a backpack that is specifically made to carry cameras. Will that be an issue? Or does it still fall into the category of camera bags as long as camera equipment is all it contains?

    • trout says:

      As long as there is just camera equipment that you are able to demonstrate to security forces and don’t try to bring other artifacts that are not permitted it should be just fine.

  • j. coleman says:

    Will there be parking available at lot A throughout each day so that someone coming at noon might find a place to park.

  • Paul Duntley says:

    I had heard that today (18th) is for military members – is there a schedule of events for this? Thanks

  • Don Baird says:

    I was in the Air Force and flew the F-100 years ago. Why are there no F-100s on static display for the public’s viewing? It was a great and historic aircraft.

  • Tami says:

    Is there a grassy area to sit on ?

  • Karen says:

    If we are riding in Grandpa’s car and he has a state handicapped sign, can we ride into the handicapped parking area with him or would we have to be dropped off and walk? Just confused when it said ” handicapped individual”. Thanks

  • Jennifer says:

    Can bottles of breastmilk and snacks for baby be brought in?

  • Becky says:

    When will the Thunderbirds fly? Is the schedule posted for any of the performances?

  • Ryan says:

    Are there restrictions on foreign nationals (visitors) to watch the airshow?

  • j says:

    Can’t wait to see the show!