JACKSONVILLE, Ark. – Fans of flight have a big weekend coming up as the Thunder Over the Rock airshow returns to Jacksonville Oct. 21 and 22.
This is the first Thunder Over the Rock in five years and organizers anticipate it being the largest aviation event in the state. General admission is free, with seating upgrade options available for a fee.
Performances by both civilian and military aviators will take place throughout the event, as well as static displays of a range of aircraft. S.T.E.M. Fest will also take place in conjunction with the airshow, and a Kid Zone will also be featured.
The show will include performances by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Air Force F-35 Demo Team. Both of those are high-performance military aircraft operating in close formation and demonstrating the capabilities of those cutting-edge aircraft.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team will be on hand to demonstrate unique freefall and under-parachute skills. The U.S. Air Force Academy’s Wings of Blue parachute team will also provide a demonstration.
Aviators are not all military. The Pine-Bluff-based Bulldog Flight will perform formation flying demonstrations, and Philipp Steinback will demonstrate the aerobatic performance of his Bentonville-built airplane, along with other world-class aerobatic pilots putting on performances.
And let’s not forget the 24,000 horsepower 400-plus mph Hot Streak II jet truck making a pass down the runway.
Aircraft on display include military transport and combat aircraft, as well as helicopters. Restored vintage aircraft, including military restorations, will also be on display.
S.T.E.M. Fest is an opportunity for youth to learn about available careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Organizers point out the “unlimited opportunities” available to anyone who stops by.
The Kid Zone will have games and activities for children, including a bounce house.
Some tips to help make the show more enjoyable:
- Jacksonville police are recommending patience for arriving traffic, as well as making sure your vehicle, including passengers, is prepared to spend some time idling in traffic. Packing some bottled water and snacks in the car, especially for children, is one idea the police had for drivers.
- Know what you can and can’t bring into the show. Prohibited and suggested items are listed on ThunderOverTheRock.com.
- Airshows take place in wide-open areas without a lot of shade. Don’t forget sunscreen, and a hat is a good idea. Pack a water bottle. Water stations will be available.
- Lots to see here; comfortable walking shoes and sunglasses are a good idea, perhaps even a folding chair.
- People who are uncomfortable around loud noise should consider earplugs.
Additional event information, including a full list of displays and ticketing information, may be found at ThunderOverTheRock.com.