Thunderbirds to Return to Valley in 2017

VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio – The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will again fly over the skies of the Mahoning Valley in 2017, the Youngstown Air Reserve Station reported Tuesday.

The aerial demonstration team, which last performed here in 2014, will return for the 2017 Thunder Over the Valley Air Show, set for June 17-18, 2017. The schedule was made public Sunday at the International Council of Air Shows conference in Las Vegas. YARS also will host an installation open house June 18, 2016 as a prelude to 2017’s larger-scale event.

Earlier this year, the secretary of the Air Force public offairs office approved YARS to host both events but the 910th Airlift Wing, which is stationed at the air base, waited for the release of the official Thunderbirds 2017 schedule to announce the open house and air show. Both events will be free and open to the public.

Guests at the 2016 YARS open house will be able to view and walk through military aircraft. Ground vehicles, interactive displays and demonstrations also will be available for viewing.

Maj. Ryan Cooley, a navigator assigned to the 757th Airlift Squadron here, is the 910th’s 2017 air show director. “We have a great team at YARS that is more than up for hosting large public events like this, and the 910th is excited to host the Thunderbirds again,” he said.

The Youngstown Air Reserve Base Community Council, a charitable organization that exists to support the base, will sponsor both events and sent representation to the International Council of Air Shows conference to begin planning.

910th Airlift Wing commander Col. James Dignan initiated the 2014 air show and directed his staff earlier this year to begin planning the 2016 and 2017 events.

“We’re looking forward to hosting a couple of great public events to show our community what we do at the 910th,” Dignan said. “The Thunderbirds put on a fantastic show for us in 2014 so we’re thrilled that they enjoyed Youngstown enough to come back in 2017.”

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