Eielson welcomed more than 12,000 people at the 'Arctic Lightning Airshow'
Eielson Air Force Base held the first airshow on base in more than a decade, doubling the number of attendees from the airshow in 2008.
One of their performances was by the Pacific Air Force F-16 Demo Team, and pilot Jacob "PRIMO" Impellizzeri says he loves traveling the world and performing these demonstrations. "Especially to see the crowd out there, and being able to fly up and down the show line, waving to the spectators and performing in front of both my family and all the awesome fans, they get to watch the F-16 demonstrate. This jet behind me is a 9 G jet which means I get to pull nine times the force of gravity. It's very taxing on the body, but it's an incredible experience," said Impellizzeri.
With the last airshow at Eielson happening over a decade ago, there were thousands of borough residents arriving on base excited to see everything the airshow had to offer. Eielson Public Affairs estimates 12,000 people through the gates of the airshow, and expect there were many more who turned around due to traffic and long lines. "It's been kind of unfortunate we haven't had one in a decade and for us, and for the military, to showcase what it is that your tax dollars go to, is critically important and quite frankly it’s how we recruit, so our next generation of airmen are here. So pick a young child and that's our next airman, so we want to inspire them by having an airshow," said Anger.
One of the big attractions of this year's airshow was the demonstration of the F-35 aircraft. Captain Andrew "DOJO" Olson, is the commander and pilot for the F-35 Demo Team and said his favorite part of flying the F-35's is being 'King Kong.' "When you're in the F-35, you see everybody, and nobody else can see you. You are just absolutely just owning out there, you have all the situational awareness in the world. It's fun being good at what you do, and when you're in this airplane, you're unbeatable," said Olson.
Eielson Public Affairs says the base is hoping to hold an airshow every other year, alternating with the airshow held down at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage. Tentatively, the next airshow at Eielson would be in 2021.