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JBA hosts 2019 'Legends in Flight' Air & Space Expo

11th Wing Public Affairs


The "Legends in Flight" JBA Air & Space Expo wrapped up here Sunday after the base opened its gates to the public for three straight days, each of which offered something unique to the attendees from the local community.


The biggest highlight of the event was the presence of both military jet demonstration teams -- the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels -- performing at the same venue for the first time in more than a decade.


Both teams flew Friday and Saturday, May 10-11, but too-low cloud coverage forced the cancelation of all aerial demonstrations on Sunday, May 12.


"Despite the bad weather, our air show lived up to its name," said Col. Andrew M. Purath, 11th Wing and JBA commander. "I couldn't be more proud of the joint team here for delivering the legendary event that our local community deserved."


Show organizers also executed what was probably the most ambitious ground event ever planned at a JBA air show. On Friday, May 10, while the aerial acts performed for service members, retirees, and their families, the base also hosted more than 7,000 students from local elementary, middle, junior high and high schools. The students and their chaperones were bussed to the installation and then guided through a pair of aircraft hangars set up with dozens of unique Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medical exhibits.


Saturday, May 11, was the first of two days open to the general public, and the weather didn't disappoint. With temperatures approaching 70 degrees and partly sunny skies overhead, tens of thousands of attendees witnessed a historic array of aerial demonstrations, kicked off by the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachuting down to show-center at the conclusion of the National Anthem.


Other performers included both fighter-jet headliners and an all-star lineup of the industry's most popular civilian aerobatic performers, including Michael Goulian, Sean Tucker, Patty Wagstaff, Kent Pietsch, and more.


Although the aerial demos were canceled Sunday, Purath decided to keep the base open to anyone who wanted to visit the STEM-M hangars and the static display aircraft parked all over the airfield. And more than 1,000 people did just that, despite the mist, rain, wind and temperatures in the 50s.


Show coordinators and military volunteers drove hundreds of golf carts around the air show grounds, interacting with soaked-but-smiling attendees and trying to make their experience as memorable as possible.


The three-day expo concluded inside Hangar 3 with a meet-and-greet session featuring members of the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels and Golden Knights on hand to talk to and sign autographs for hundreds of fans.