The Extreme Blue Thunder Air Show will be headlined by the Navy Blue Angels, flying their signature blue and gold trimmed F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets. The Blue Angels last appeared in Idaho Falls in 2010. More than 45,000 people purchased tickets for the two-day event, generating an estimated $20 million in regional economic activity and raising $250,000 for the Mayor’s Youth Scholarship Fund.
F-35 HERITAGE FLIGHT
Last year, the Idaho Falls Air Show Board of Directors applied for the prestigious F-35 Heritage Flight through the Department of Defense. After a rigorous selection process, Idaho Falls was selected as one of only twelve cities in North America to be awarded a Air Force (USAF) F-35 Heritage Flight. The Heritage Flight, a program founded in 1997, celebrates the USAF 50th anniversary and honors those who have served or are serving. The aircraft will be performing alongside fighter/attack aircraft from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
The F-35 is the Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter and provides next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness, and reduced vulnerability for the United States and allied nations. Nine countries were involved in developing the aircraft (United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia). The advanced sensor package in the F-35 is designed to gather, fuse and distribute more information than any fighter in history.
The F-35 Heritage Flight Team includes one pilot and 10 maintainers, all selected from the 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base near Glendale, Ariz. Major Will Andreotta will pilot the jet during the Extreme Blue Thunder Air Show.
Brad Wursten, a Hyde Park, Utah Native will take to the skies alongside some of the best pilots in the world during the Extreme Blue Thunder Air Show. Wursten will fly in one of the most highly sophisticated airplanes in the world, the MXS-R made by MX Aircraft. The plane features a complete carbon fiber airframe that weighs an impressive 1100 lbs. The Lycoming engine has 385 HP and can reach a top speed of over 300 MPH, a roll rate of 420 degrees per second, and “G” loading at +/- 15 “G’s.” Wursten has more than 1500 hours of flying in various aircraft.
Wursten is working with the Ryan J. Poe Foundation’s youth program, “Elevate Your Life,” founded by air show performer Greg Poe following the tragic drug-related death of his son Ryan J. Poe in August 2002. The foundation’s mission is to utilize aviation to inspire, motivate and provide a path for young people to realize their dreams. The encouragement that young people receive to follow their dreams has been Wursten’s lifelong dream.
Julie Clark and the Smokin’ Mentor T-34 aerobatic team will entertain crowds in Idaho Falls on July 22 & 23.
Julie will be flying her beautifully restored T-34, “Free Spirit,” during a “Serenade in Red, White and Blue” patriotic presentation choreographed to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” Top that off with multi-colored wingtip smoke trailing behind her every maneuver, and crowds will quickly realize why Julie has earned the admiration of fans across North America, garnering many awards and honors along the way.
MIG FURY FIGHTERS
The Mig Fury Fighter are a multi-jet warbird act includes the World’s only FJ-4B Fury Fighter Jet, as well as a Mig 15 and Mig 17. This exciting display also includes a live narrated storyline with music, smoke and mock-up dog fighting.
After being decommissioned for maintenance during the 2016 airshow season, we are thrilled to announce that the U.S. Navy Blue Angels’ C-130 Hercules, affectionately called “Fat Albert,” will be back performing zero g maneuvers in Idaho Falls on July 22-23.
Fat Albert is the U.S. Navy Blue Angels’ workhorse. A Marine Corps crew of three pilots and five enlisted aircrew flies the 24-year-old aircraft. It flies more than 100,000 miles during airshow season to deliver 45 maintenance and support personnel as well as their equipment to 35 airshows across the country each year. If equipment breaks during the air show, Fat Albert travels to the nearest supply point to gather supplies and get the aircraft back in the air by the following day.
Matt Younkin, a third generation pilot and the son of legendary airshow pilot Bobby Younkin, who is famous for his amazing aerobatic displays in the AT-6, Beech 18, Learjet 23, Samson, and most recently, the Super Decathlon. Bobby is considered one of the greatest airshow pilots of all time.
Younkin learned to fly at the age of 14 in a Piper J-3 Cub. On his sixteenth birthday, Matt soloed his grandfather’s 1928 Travel Air 4000 biplane. Matt is now proficient in over 80 types of airplanes ranging from the Piper Cub to the North American B-29. He is also a fully rated flight instructor and now has almost 4000 hours of total flying time.
Gene Soucy is one of the most well-respected and proficient airshow pilots in American aviation. He is a former member of the record-setting Eagles Aerobatic Flight Team and has been a member of two World Champion U.S. Aerobatic Teams. Affectionately nicknamed, “Mr. Airshow,” he has won more awards than any other active airshow pilot. Innovation and versatility are Gene’s style.
Soucy began professional airshow flying in 1968, and since then he has appeared in every major airshow in North America. His 3000+ airshow performances have seen versatility with the wide range of airplanes he has flown. Perhaps his most outstanding performances came with his involvement on both the Red Devil and Eagle Aerobatic Teams, which he flew for an unprecedented twenty-five years!
The US Army Special Ops Command Parachute Demonstration Team – the Black Daggers – is comprised of all volunteers from the Army Special Operations community. Varying in backgrounds and specialties, the team performs aerial demonstrations in support of the Army Special Operations’ community outreach and recruitment efforts.
The team uses ram-air parachutes that allow for free-falling parachuting with more than 100lbs of additional equipment. These highly skilled parachutists not only withstand extra equipment weight, but also high winds, frigid temperatures and low oxygen.
Lee Lauderback, is the president and CEO of Stallion 51 Corporation, located in Kissimmee, Florida. Since 1987, Stallion 51’s innovative and comprehensive curricula have instructed thousands of pilots on the correct and safe methods of flying both the legendary P-51 Mustang and the historic T-6 Texan.
He started flying sailplanes at age 14 and launched his corporate aviation career immediately after college with the noted professional golfer, philanthropist and businessman, Arnold Palmer. Lee was Mr.
Palmer’s chief pilot and the director of flight operations for 17 years, flying several different models of Citation jets, a Learjet and a MD500E helicopter. He has over 2,000 hours in sailplanes, has competed in many soaring contests and has held several sailplane records.