Fighter jets to perform at Eielson's 'Arctic Lightning Airshow' for first time in 11 years

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Eielson is preparing for their fist airshow in over a decade, with the last one having been in 2008. 354th Fighter Wing Commander Colonel Bishop says the air show this year is a way to welcome the F-35's to Eielson. "We have two F-35 combat squadrons coming here starting next year and the airshow is an opportunity to say thanks. Thanks to the community for the wonderful support for our airmen and our mission, and to open up the gates and show these aircraft to the public in person," said Bishop.

Along with an F-35 demonstration, there will be F-22 and F-16 performances. Captain Jacob "Primo" Impellizzeri with the PACAF F-16 Demo Team says their demonstration is focused on showing off the F-16 capabilities. "How we differ from other kind of team demonstration units is we're a single ship demonstration team so our big focus is showing the mighty block 30 in this case, how it turns, how it's fast, and it's just a great fighter," said Impellizzeri.

Bishop says it will be fun for the whole family, "to see aircraft in action, but also on the ground. We have events scheduled for the children, for those looking to join the Eielson team, we'll have job booths set up as well, food trucks, and bands, so it's a wonderful event for the entire family."

With the winds bringing in the wildfire smoke, there is a possibility that the airshow will have to be postponed or cancelled due to the air quality. Bishop says they are watching the weather closely. "We are monitoring the weather, the visibility, and the air quality closely to ensure the safety of our airmen, our performers and the crowd. Currently the forecast is favorable for Saturday, however we all know that weather in Alaska can change in a moments notice," said Bishop.

There is a weather back up day scheduled for Sunday July 14th.