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Thunder and Lightning Air Show returns to Tucson in full swing

Posted at 1:41 PM, Nov 08, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — If you heard plane noises while outside Saturday that’s because the annual Thunder and Lightning Air Show is back in Tucson. The event was canceled last year due to the pandemic but returned in full swing.

“It's amazing, and especially that woman that was piloting the dual wing thing, oh my gosh,” said Vera Schlichter, an air show attendee.

These planes and many more performed stunts for thousands at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

“It makes your stomach kind of go ‘loop’," Schlichter said.

Plenty of newcomers...

“I like watching airplanes do airplane things, I find that very impressive and entertaining,” said Hally Sablosky, an air show attendee.

And old-timers stopped by to admire the precision and talent of American airmen.

“It's very difficult, pilot training is very severe, and it takes a long time,” said Ron Heilman, a Vietnam War veteran.

Ron Heilman was in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1969, and served in the Vietnam War. He was in the marine’s oldest squadron that’s still active today.

“the air shows are how far we’ve come from back in the 50s to right now," Heilman said. It's more upgraded, a little more complicated.”

Heilman’s squadron flew F-4Js, which were sometimes used for bombing missions. Now, he says they're used for target practice.

“The F-4s were one of the greatest air crafts in the world at that time, and now they’re just targets,” Heilman said.

It just goes to show how far the U.S. has come, and how we can always soar to new heights.