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Offutt Air Show set to return in 2018, 2019

An F-22 Raptor with the F-22 Demo Team, lands on the Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska runway following its performance at the 2014 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show July 19.  The open house attracted record numbers of people from around the Omaha-metro area.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Josh Plueger/Released)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - A F-22 Raptor with the F-22 Demo Team, lands on the Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska runway following its performance at the 2014 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air and Space Show. The Raptor, along with the F-35A Lightning II, will headline the 2018 event. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the 2018 and 2019 events, visit www.offuttairshow.com for updates as they become available. (U.S. Air Force photo by Josh Plueger)

A F-35A Lightning II aircraft takes off from Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

A F-35A Lightning II aircraft takes off from Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The Lightning II, along with the F-22 Raptor, will headline the 2018 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air and Space Show. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the 2018 and 2019 events, visit www.offuttairshow.com for updates as they become available. (U.S. Air Force photo/Paul Holcomb)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - Two members of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team perform a heart-stopping and gravity-defying maneuver at 2008's Air Force Week in the Heartland. The Thunderbirds will be here again Aug. 28 - 29 for the 2010 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show on base. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about this and other performers, visit www.offuttairshow.com. The Thunderbird team is made up of more than 120 personnel who represent all Airmen across the globe. The primary Thunderbird mission is to represent the Pride, Precision and Professionalism all Airmen demonstrate. From the ground show to the breathtaking aerial maneuvers, the Thunderbirds continue to represent America's Airmen. U.S. Air Force photo by Josh Plueger

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - Two members of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team perform at a maneuver during a previous performance at Offutt. The Thunderbirds will be here again June 1 - 2 for the 2019 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air and Space Show. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the 2018 and 2019 events, visit www.offuttairshow.com for updates as they become available. (U.S. Air Force photo by Josh Plueger)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- After a one-year hiatus, Offutt’s “Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air and Space Show” is scheduled to make its return August 10-12, 2018 and June 1-2, 2019.

“Opening our gates allows us to connect with Nebraskans and demonstrate the capabilities and professionalism of the finest air and space force in the world,” Col. Mike Manion, 55th Wing commander, said. “It is just one way to thank Bellevue, Omaha and the surrounding communities for the tremendous support our Airmen receive every day.

The open house and air show has been a regularly-scheduled community event since 1972 and, as one of the only instances the base is ever open to the public, attracts about 200,000 spectators each iteration.

The 2018 event will be co-headlined by the F-22 Raptor and F-35A Lightning II demonstration teams.

“These are the most advanced fighters we [the U.S.] have and it will be impressive to see their maneuvering capabilities,” Capt. Hunter Horste, 2018 air show director, said.

Both the Raptor and Lightning II are fifth-generation fighters which, through a combination of stealth, speed, maneuverability and integrated avionics, represent an exponential leap forward in warfighting capabilities.

According to Horste, the upcoming show will be the first time the Lightning II will perform at Offutt. It was previously a static-ground display during the 2016 air show.

The 2019 event will be headlined by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds who last flew at Offutt in 2016. The Air Force’s elite demonstration team flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon and has been wowing crowds since 1953.

By the time the Thunderbirds arrive in the Heartland in 2019, they will have already performed at 11 air shows with the Jones Beach Air Show in Wantagh, New York and the Minnesota Air Spectacular in Mankato, Minnesota bookending their appearance here.

In addition to the headline acts in 2018 and 2019, Horste said additional performers, including aerial acrobats and parachute demonstration teams, static aircraft displays and ground-based displays will be available.

More information on the Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show will be posted as it becomes available to www.offuttairshow.com.