Kentucky Air Guard partners to stage Thunder air show

  • Published
  • By Dale Greer
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Kentucky Air National Guard is once again serving as a key partner in the city’s annual Thunder Over Louisville air show, officials announced here yesterday.

The event, slated for April 20, will feature more than a dozen military aircraft operating from the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing, based at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, said Lt. Col. Josh Ketterer, commander of the wing's flying squadron.

“The 123rd is pleased to partner with the Kentucky Derby Festival to produce and execute another high-level aerial event for the community,” Ketterer said, noting that the wing provides critical support for military participants.

The air show, to be held downtown along the banks of the Ohio River, serves as the kick-off for the city’s two-week Kentucky Derby Festival leading up to the 150th Run for the Roses.

This year’s show and the attendant fireworks display, now in its 35th year, will feature the U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aerial refueling demonstration with a KC-135 Stratotanker, and parachute drops from the Kentucky Air Guard’s new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

The Kentucky Army National Guard’s 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade also will team up with the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron to perform a helicopter infiltration and personnel extraction from the Ohio River.

International aircraft this year include a German Air Force A400M Atlas and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 Hornet. Other events include demos by the U.S. Air Force Academy Wings of Blue jump team, U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers and a U.S. Navy EA-18 Growler.

“Thunder has become more than fireworks and an air show over the last three decades,” said Matt Gibson, president and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival. “It’s an annual rite of spring in Kentucky, a signature attraction for tourism in Louisville and the Bluegrass, and an event that unites our entire community along the banks of both sides of the Ohio River.”