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Davis Journal

After four-year hiatus, air show is back

Jun 16, 2022 10:32AM ● By Becky Ginos

HILL AIR FORCE BASE—Preparations are in full swing for the 2022 Hill AFB Warriors Over the Wasatch Air & Space Show scheduled for June 25 and 26 and organizers are expecting more spectators than ever. 

“It’s been four years since we had the show,” said Executive Director Utah Air Show Foundation Kevin Ireland. “We’re extremely excited. It’s six and a half hours of flying each day. It’s a larger show than ever before. We’re thrilled people will be able to experience it and it’s free.”

Visitors can look up into the sky all day long and see planes from WWII, Vietnam to the present day, he said. “It’s also one of the top recruiting tools to get into the Air Force. Twenty percent said after getting to talk to a pilot they wanted to learn to fly. It also gives veterans a chance to reminisce a bit.”

In addition to the aerial show there will be a STEM City with hands-on booths and activities. “There’s a lot to see and experience in two days,” said Ireland. “The gates will be open and give us a chance to show the community what goes on inside the fence and experience what we do day after day.”

For the last two years everyone has been hibernating, he said. “People are hungry to get out and interact with their neighbors. You don’t want to miss it for sure.”

Ireland said the release of the Top Gun movie is great timing. “We’re extremely jacked. The film coming out is a perfect storm to get people super excited. The air show gives them the chance to experience it, to see it, smell it and feel it.”

They’re expecting up to 600,000 spectators, he said. “It’s a $50-$60 million economic impact when the show comes.”

“It’s a huge undertaking,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Michaels, air show coordinator. “We start planning two years out. It takes that amount of time. There are about 1,200 volunteers and all the training behind it.”

There’s been a four year hiatus and the interest is unbelievable, he said. “We’ve been in COVID so long that we want to reach out to the community and let them know how much we appreciate their support. We want to get people under the tent and see what we do.”

Michaels said the F-22 is his favorite. “It outperforms anything in the world. It’s spectacular. The crowds love the F-35 and everything it has to offer. It will be an enjoyable event.”

The Thunderbird F-35 demo team undergoes intensive training, he said. “They have to certify each year and they go around doing shows, about one show every week during the year.”

There are civilian performers in the show as well. “They are incredible,” said Ireland. “About 50 percent have prior military experience but others are people who just love to fly and do aerobatics. They’ve honed their skills with many hours of flying.”

Ireland said they find most of the civilian performers at a convention held in December. “They come from all over the world and we have a chance to interact and hire people for upcoming shows. We build relationships with performance teams but it’s driven by dollars as well. We’re fortunate everyone likes to perform here. We can hand pick who we want to come to the show.”

The foundation raised $800,000 for the show, he said. “We help fund the Hill show – that’s our mission. We’re the logistical piece. We get the tents, performers, hotels, rental cars, etc. and the Air Force builds the show around what we bring and they make it happen.”

For more information on the show, visit l