Create memories that will last a lifetime.
That's exactly what you'll do at the 2018 Thunder Over the Rock Air and Space Show! We are excited and proud to announce some of the best aerial performers from across the nation, ranging from small hobby planes to America's finest fighter jets.
Please note that all acts are subject to change. For more information, sign up for our email updates below.
Proudly representing Air Force Airmen with excellence.
In 1947, while the jet age was still in its infancy, military aviation was hurtled into the future with the creation of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service. Just six years later, on May 25, 1953, the Air Force’s official air demonstration team, designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit, was activated at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The unit adopted the name “Thunderbirds,” influenced in part by the strong Native American culture and folklore from the southwestern United States where Luke Air Force Base is located. Millions of people have witnessed the Thunderbirds demonstrations, and in turn, they’ve seen the pride, professionalism and dedication of hundreds of thousands of Airmen serving at home and abroad. Each year brings another opportunity for the team to represent those who deserve the most credit: the everyday, hard-working Airmen voluntarily serving America and defending freedom.
Champions of the Sky: The Golden Knights
In 1959, nineteen Airborne Soldiers from various military units formed the Strategic Army Command Parachute Team (STRAC). Brigadier General Joseph Stilwell Jr. gathered the Soldiers with the intent of competing in the relatively new sport of skydiving, which at that time was dominated by the Soviet Union. That year, the U.S. Army team began representing the United States on the international competition circuit, and performed their first demonstration in Danville, Virginia.
Two years later, the Department of Defense announced that the STRAC team would become the United States Army Parachute Team. By 1962, the team earned the nickname the "Golden Knights". "Golden" signified the gold medals the team had won while "Knights" alluded to the team’s ambition to conquer the skies.
Since then, the Golden Knights have conducted more than 16,000 shows in 50 states and 48 countries, reaching an average of 60,000 people per show. The team has earned the U.S. Army 2,148 gold, 1,117 silver, and 693 bronze medals in national and international competition. Team members have also broken 348 world records.
One aircraft, many capabilities.
For the past six decades, many words have been used to describe the C-130 Hercules. But they all translate to the same fact: there is only one Hercules. The C-130 goes where other aircraft can't. It supports more missions than any other aircraft in the skies. From the highest air strips in the Himalayas to aircraft carrier runways in the middle of the ocean, the C-130 regularly—and proudly—defies expectations. The Hercules is known for its ability to tackle any mission, anywhere, at any time. Many variations of the C-130 have been produced, but the C-130J model is the most advanced of these aircraft. It took its first flight in April 1996, and since then, it has conducted countless missions across the globe. Whether it's flying combat, humanitarian, or special operations, aerial refueling, firefighting, or search and rescue missions around the world, the C-130J stands ready for its next mission and whatever the future holds.
To read more history about the C-130, click here.
Always ready for battle.
The legacy of the Black Hawk (UH-60) is unmatched. Its multi-mission capabilities are designed to provide flexibility when called upon -- from peaceful coalition operations to the heaviest combat, the UH-60 is the go-to chopper.
Not to be outmatched, the Lakota (LUH-72) is a lightweight utility helicopter designed for logistics and aiding in combat missions. Its "get in and get out" mentality makes it a necessary piece of any mission-related puzzle.
A mission of excellence.
The Wings of Blue have a long-standing commitment to personal and organizational excellence as well as a storied history of success. While the airspace that the Wings of Blue operates in is one of the busiest in the world, their drop zone is one of the safest. The primary mission of the Wings of Blue is to run the Air Force’s Basic Freefall Parachuting course, known as Airmanship 490 (AM-490). Members of the team serve primarily as jumpmasters and instructors for this course, devoting most of their time to teaching students about parachuting and training them to make unassisted freefall skydives. AM-490 is the only certified first-jump program in the world where students can make their first freefall jump without assistance. Each year, over 700 cadets are given the opportunity to take AM-490 and earn their jump wings.
Never forget December 7, 1941.
"Tora, Tora, Tora" is the Commemorative Air Force's recreation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that signaled the beginning of American involvement in World War II. Designed as a living history lesson, "Tora, Tora, Tora" is intended as a memorial to the service members who gave their lives for their countries.
The motto of the Commemorative Air Force and the "Tora" act is "Lest We Forget." The performance, as other Commemorative Air Force flying history recreations, is not intended to promote nationalism or glorify war. The intent of the Tora group is to help generations of individuals throughout the world born after World War II understand that war does not discriminate in the pain it causes and that courageous individuals on both sides lose their lives. In furtherance of this mission, the Tora group has participated in the making of numerous documentaries produced by Japanese filmmakers and Japanese historians.
To learn more about Tora! Tora! Tora!, visit their website here.
Bring the heat.
Shockwave is a custom-built race truck equipped with three huge J34-48 Pratt & Whitney jet engines originally out of the U.S. Navy T-2 Buckeye, with a combined horsepower of 36,000! These three jet engines make a total of 21,000 lbs of thrust, which easily propels this truck to speeds over 350 mph while racing planes at air shows all over North America! Shockwave is not only the most powerful truck in the world, it also hold the record speed for semi trucks at 376 mph. As one of the most popular air show and drag racing exhibition vehicles in the world, the Shockwave performance is not something you will soon forget! This is truly an assault of all of your senses with huge flames coming out of the three after burners, fire shooting out of the smoke stacks, intense heat, deafening noise, and speed!
To learn more about the Shockwave Jet Truck, visit their website here.
Double the aerobatics, double the fun.
There are two types of family entertainment guaranteed to thrill: circuses and air shows. So, when you combine the two, you've got a guaranteed hit on your hands! Mark Sorenson, creator of the Tiger Airshows, has done just that with an air show act that draws from the best 'tricks' of the circus and aerobatics. The bright orange planes with black stripes will thrill you -- with smoke rings, loops and tumbles, this is a performance you won't want to miss!
To learn more about Tiger Airshows, visit their website here.
"That crazy guy in the orange biplane."
You can't miss Mike Wiskus in the sky -- showcasing incredible aerial skills in an orange biplane, Mike's passion for flying is obvious. After 40 years of flying, he keeps a very busy schedule as a full-time air show pilot flying the Lucas Oil stunt plane. As a 2002 U.S. National Aerobatic Champion and a member of the 2004 U.S. Aerobatic Team, Mike has traveled the world with the same aircraft you will see him performing in. His excitement for aviation and willingness to share his experience with people around the country is nothing short of contagious in his attempt to help encourage kids of all ages, to not only dream, but to live their dreams and never give up!
To learn more about Mike Wiskus and Lucas Oil Airshows, visit their website here.
All acts are subject to change. Stay up-to-date with event information by subscribing to our mailing list.