Air Show returns to the Valley

VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) — Rumors about an air show returning to the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna began circulating last year.

On Monday night, more information regarding about what it takes to make the show take flight was revealed.

Sequestration, the government shutdown and budget cuts all played a role in the Department of Defense grounding air shows last year from coast to coast. This May however, residents will get ready to hear, see and feel the Thunder Over the Valley once again.

“We’re one of 16 air force bases around the world that’s going to have an air show this year,” said Col. James Dignan, Commander of the 910th Airlift Wing.

Thunder Over the Valley is set to return to the Youngstown Air Reserve Station for the first time since 2009 and will be headlined once again by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

“It’s the best, at least one of the best, air demonstrations that you’ll ever see, you get to see it out here with all six of the Thunderbirds flying their F-16s in close formation, it’s a sight to be seen,” said Dignan.

“If you don’t get chills from the Thunderbirds, there’s something wrong with you,” added David Deibel, co-chair of Thunder Over the Valley.

The free show is slated for May 17 and 18 at the air base in Vienna.

That doesn’t leave much time for planning. The Youngstown Air Reserve Base Community Council talked logistics Monday afternoon with the Western Reserve Port Authority.

“So we’re very condensed, but we got a great team put together to make it successful for the community to come out and have a good time,” said Jay Ference, instructor pilot for the 773rd Airlift Squadron.

The federal government is only paying a fraction of what it did to bring the show to Youngstown in 2009, so organizers are hoping to raise close to $200,000 through individual or corporate sponsors.

A $10,000 to $50,000 partnership package puts you right in the middle of the show, with behind-the-scenes access, experiences and VIP treatment. However, anyone who comes to the show can get up close and personal with aircraft from all different eras.

“You go up and you can pet them, you can walk through some of them, talk to the pilots, the crew. It’s a thrill,” said Deibel.

Between 50,000 and 70,000 spectators are expected each day of the air show.

For more information on Thunder Over the Valley, click here.

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