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Keesler AFB, Biloxi Join to Host First Two-Stage Airshow

The Air Force Thunderbirds will headline the Thunder Over the Sound Airshow in Biloxi this weekend. (USAF)

BILOXI, Miss. — Keesler Air Force Base and the city of Biloxi will host a rare two-stage air show event this weekend as they work together for the Thunder Over the Sound Air & Space Show.

The joint-event air show will begin with gates opening at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, followed by on-base aerial demonstrations one hour later. Guests can enjoy breakfast as they watch Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, Trojan Thunder, and popular warbirds perform all morning.

As Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Truck concludes about noon, the air show will then move to the sugar beaches of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Exact air show center is located at Beach Blvd. and White Ave.

Aeroshell Aerobatic Team will perform over Keesler AFB and Biloxi beach. (Charles Atkeison)

“We’re really excited to bring the Thunderbirds back to the Gulf Coast, and are happy to partner with the city of Biloxi to bring what will hopefully be an outstanding show to one and all,” Col. Lance Burnett, vice commander of the 81st Training Wing, said on Thursday. “This is the first air show of its kind to involve a joint effort between a city and a military base — taking place in two different locations.”

The beach show opens at 1 p.m. with the re-flights of the performers who flew a few hours earlier. The excitement of the day will increase as the Air Force Thunderbirds take to the skies beginning about 4 p.m.

The Thunderbirds are scheduled to perform a nearly 45-minute flight demonstration showcasing the power and beauty of the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Their four-aircraft diamond formations plus the high speed passes by the two solo ships will bring chills to visitors on the warm beach.

“We are really just getting started for our show season, and we are super excited to begin at a unique over-the-water beach show here on the Gulf Coast,” Thunderbird 6 opposing solo Capt. Michelle “Mace” Curran said following her team’s arrival on Thursday. “This show allows our crowd to see various unique perspectives of the performance that our crowds don’t normally see when they are confined to an airfield. This is a great air show to come out and see over the weekend.”

Keesler AFB notes that only handicap guests and those carrying a DoD-ID will be allowed to park on the base. There will be several locations outside of Keesler for public parking on both days. A public shuttle service will run all day from the parking lots to both the air base and the beach.

(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)

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Written by Charles Atkeison

Charles A Atkeison is a long time aerospace journalist having covered both military and civilian aviation, plus 30 space shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral. He has produced multimedia aerospace content for CNN, London's Sky News, radio, print, and the web for twenty years. From flying with his father at age 5 to soaring as a VIP recently with the Navy's Blue Angels and USAF Thunderbirds, Charles continues to enjoy all aspects of flight.