Local news

Thunderbirds to return to Fairchild

The Thunderbirds will return to Spokane skies in spring 2014 for an open house at Fairchild Air Force Base.

The U.S. Air Force squadron known for wowing crowds with its F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft performances will fly in Spokane on May 31 and June 1.

“They’re kind of like our ambassadors,” Staff Sgt. Alex Montes said. “They go out and show our ability to fly an aircraft.”

The open house, which is free to the public, will also feature demonstrations of military vehicles and base operations, he said.

The base is awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to start planning the show. Montes expects to begin preparations next month.

Fairchild had planned to revive the annual Skyfest air show earlier this year, but the base canceled the event when the Thunderbirds aircraft were grounded due to budget cuts from the federal sequestration. Skyfest typically draws more than 100,000 people to the base.

This story has been changed; Skyfest was canceled earlier this year, not last year as originally reported.

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