Kentucky Air Guard to perform two demonstrations in Thunder air show

  • Published
  • By Maj. Dale Greer
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard will perform two demonstrations during Saturday's Thunder Over Louisville air show, giving hundreds of thousands of spectators the opportunity to witness a cargo airdrop and a helocast deployment of special operators.

In the first event, Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing will airdrop two bundles of cargo into the Ohio River from the back of a Kentucky Air Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft while flying at a height of approximately 500 feet, said Capt. Josh Ketterer, the unit's air show coordinator.

"The C-130 is the most versatile transport aircraft ever flown, capable of operating from rough, dirt strips while airlifting 42,000 pounds of cargo or more than 90 troops into some of the world's most challenging environments," Ketterer said. "This weekend's demonstration will show why it continues to be the U.S. military's premier platform for airdropping both troops and equipment into hostile areas."

In the second demonstration, six Airmen from the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron will perform a helocast mission from aboard two Kentucky Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

The six Airmen, a combination of combat controllers and pararescuemen, will jump into the Ohio River as the helicopters fly at a speed of 10 knots and an altitude of 10 feet.

"This insertion demonstrates the manner in which our Airmen might enter a body of water to conduct a rescue mission or recover downed personnel," said Lt. Col. Sean McLane, commander of the 123rd STS. "The same technique can be also used to conduct a clandestine infiltration into enemy territory during combat operations."

Once the insertion is complete, the Airmen will be picked up by a boat operated by members of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron.

Aircraft scheduled to perform in the air show began arriving at the Kentucky Air National Guard base today, including two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets, which will perform a demonstration of the fighter jet's aerobatic capabilities.

"We expect great weather this weekend, so it should be an excellent air show," Ketterer said. "We'll have a wide variety of aircraft, from the U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport and U.S. Navy F/A-18s to the U.S. Marine Corps' AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter and several aircraft from the Canadian military. The U.S. Navy's Leapfrogs also will provide a unique demonstration of their parachute capabilities."

The Kentucky Air National Guard is once again serving as the base of operations for all military aircraft performing in the show, providing logistical and maintenance support.

"It's always a real pleasure for our wing to support Thunder, which has grown to be one of the largest single-day air shows and fireworks demonstrations in North America," Ketterer said.