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Less than 100 days to 2018 Defenders of Freedom Air & Space Show

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor performs a dedication pass during Beale's Air & Space Expo Family Day at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., April 27, 2018. The F-22 was the premier fighter jet showcased during the weekend performance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor performs a dedication pass during a recent air & space show at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. The Raptor, along with an appearance by the F-35A Lightning II, will headline Offutt's "2018 Defenders of Freedom Air & Space Show” scheduled for August 11-12, 2018. The event is free and open to the public. More information on the 2018 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show will be posted as it becomes available to www.offuttairshow.com and on the event-specific Facebook page found by searching @theoffuttairshow. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

The AeroShell T-6 Texan Formation Flight performs during Air & Space Expo, Joint Base Charleston, S.C., April 28, 2018.

The AeroShell T-6 Texan Formation Flight performs during a recent air && space show at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., April 28, 2018. The AeroShell team are among the many performers scheduled for Offutt's "2018 Defenders of Freedom Air & Space Show” set for August 11-12, 2018. The event is free and open to the public. More information on the 2018 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show will be posted as it becomes available to www.offuttairshow.com and on the event-specific Facebook page found by searching @theoffuttairshow.

After a one-year hiatus, Offutt’s “Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air and Space Show” is scheduled to make its return August 11-12, 2018. 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. More information on the 2018 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show will be posted as it becomes available to www.offuttairshow.com and on the event-specific Facebook page found by searching @theoffuttairshow.

After a one-year hiatus, Offutt’s “Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air and Space Show” is scheduled to make its return August 11-12, 2018. 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. More information on the 2018 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show will be posted as it becomes available to www.offuttairshow.com and on the event-specific Facebook page found by searching @theoffuttairshow.

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- In less than 100 days, an estimated 200,000 spectators will fill Offutt’s ramp while some of the most advanced aircraft in the world maneuver in the skies above.

After a one-year hiatus, Offutt’s free “2018 Defenders of Freedom Air & Space Show” will make its return August 11-12, 2018.

“The air show and open house is an outstanding opportunity for us to connect with our neighbors and thank them for the support they provide our Airmen,” Col. Michael Manion, 55th Wing commander, said.

In addition to the headlining F-22 Raptor demonstration and the F-35A Lightning II heritage flight, numerous performers are scheduled to share their versions of the wonder of flight.

They include the RE/MAX jump team; the Aeroshell aerobatic team flying the North American AT-6 Texan; Greg Colyer flying a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star; Jeff and Joe Shetterly flying their North American AT-6 Texan and RV-8 respectively; Randy Ball flying a MiG-17F; Scott Francis flying his all-carbon fiber MXS monoplane; Matt Younkin flying a twin-engine Beechcraft Model 18; and Kent Pietsch flying an Interstate L-6.

Dozens of static aircraft, manned by their crews, will also be on display to allow an up-close look at military aircraft of all types and the opportunity to ask the men and women who fly them what it’s like.

While much of the focus of the air show and open house is on the aerial events, ground-based demonstrations and exhibits will be plentiful including 55th Wing Security Forces military working dog demonstrations; an appearance by the 501st Legion Star Wars costuming group; military service academy representatives and even an area dedicated to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related activities.

An array of concessions will also be available to satisfy almost any imaginable craving.

None of this, however, happens on its own. Each air show and open house takes a year of planning by a dedicated group of Airmen who secure the acts and displays; work out contracts and logistical issues; and ensures everyone who attends the two-day event is safe.

Maj. Hunter Horste, 55th Wing air show director, leads a team of five who work every day behind-the-scenes to ensure the event’s success.

“I can’t say enough about my team; Maj. Keith McKee, air operations director; Capt. Anna Gault, ground operations director; Capt. Ben DeWilde, single-ship demo coordinator; and Capt. Patrick Ohlaut, rehearsal air show director,” Horste said. “Organizing and executing an event of this size comes with definite challenges, but they have approached each day with enthusiasm and dedication. But we couldn’t, and don’t, do this alone. It takes people and organizations spanning the entirety of Offutt – from security forces to transient alert to vehicle ops – to make this a safe and successful event. This is truly a Team Offutt undertaking.”

Hundreds of additional Warhawk volunteers and augmentees will contribute by setting up displays and concession tents; directing traffic; distributing concessions; augmenting security forces; and assisting visitors any way they can.

Parking
On-base parking can be accessed via the STRATCOM Gate on Capehart Road and following the directional signs for general parking areas.

Shuttles
To avoid traffic congestion spectators are highly-encouraged to utilize the free shuttle service from the following parking areas in Bellevue, Nebraska. The shuttle pickup locations are:

1. Southroads Technology Center – Ft. Crook & Childs Road
2. Bellevue University – Harvell & Herman Drive
3. Bellevue East High School – Harvell Drive & Lincoln Road
4. Bellevue West High School – 15th & Thurston Drive
5. Offutt AFB (on base, via Bellevue gate, behind Sarpy County Museum) – Offutt AFB & Lincoln Road

The buses will run from approximately 8:45 a.m. until the last attendee is returned to their lot. At 3 p.m., the buses will stop delivering new attendees to the base and will switch to an outbound-only mode. Those in line at 3 p.m. will be allowed to board a shuttle.

Handicap parking will be available in the Offutt Field House parking lot. Take Capehart Road to the STRATCOM gate and look for the direction signs. If you have difficulties, ask the Security Forces personnel directing traffic for assistance.

Security
In order to ensure the security of everyone, all guests will be required to pass through checkpoints at the flightline entrance to ensure prohibited items are not taken onto the ramp. These items include backpacks; weapons of any kind (including pocket knives); toys that resemble firearms; fireworks; spray paint or silly string; glass containers; alcohol or illegal drugs.

Permitted items include strollers and wagons for toddlers; lawn chairs; small purses; items such as wheelchairs; cameras, video recorders and binoculars.

Medical
Emergency medical personnel will be on-hand and circulating throughout the area, but visitors are reminded to do their part in staying safe and healthy. Heat can cause severe illness and children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to heat-related injuries. Typically, the flightline area is 10 to 20 degrees hotter than other areas so keeping hydrated is very important.

Plentiful water stations and restroom facilities will be available throughout the flightline-area.

Smartphone App
The popular Offutt Air Show smartphone app will also be available to download from the Apple or Google Play stores. It will have information for both air and ground attractions; parking and driving directions; a general events schedule; and, during the Open House, performance or severe weather notifications will be sent to users.

More information on the 2018 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show will be posted as it becomes available to www.offuttairshow.com and on the event-specific Facebook page found by searching @theoffuttairshow.