Keeper of the Plans

Here’s what to know about McConnell’s air show this weekend

McConnell Air Show continues despite cloudy skies

The "Frontiers of Flight" airshow kicked off Saturday despite cloudy skies that kept aerial shows grounded for much of the day. The show continues Sunday.
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The "Frontiers of Flight" airshow kicked off Saturday despite cloudy skies that kept aerial shows grounded for much of the day. The show continues Sunday.

UPDATE, Sunday, Sept. 9: The primary parking area, the Textron Aviation field, is open. McConnell announced Saturday night that it would reopen. The grassy field was closed last week because recent rains had turned it muddy. Visitors who park there will have a 15- to 20-minute walk.


For the first time in six years, McConnell Air Force Base will open its gates to the general public this weekend for an air show.

The air show is your chance to see all sorts of military planes up close and personal, as well as see performances by the Air Force Thunderbirds and eight different aerobatic performers and teams.

McConnell Air Force Base is gearing up for its first air show since 2012. Featuring the Air Force Thunderbirds, eight different aerobatic performers and teams, and fly-bys from an A-10 Warthog, KC-135 tanker and C-17 Globemaster.

There will also be flybys from an A-10 Warthog, a KC-135 tanker (McConnell’s bread-and-butter) and a C-17 Globemaster.

Plenty of planes will be available for public viewing as well, include “Doc,” a B-52 bomber, a B-2 Stealth Bomber, two F-16 jets, and more.

McConnell has said to expect a “jam-packed ramp” for the air show this weekend.

There will also be concessions stands throughout the grounds, a “kid zone” and a STEM-themed area filled with local exhibitors inside.

The best part: It’s all free.

Here’s what you need to go to the Frontiers in Flight air show this weekend:

When is it?

The air show will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at McConnell Air Force Base, south of Pawnee on Rock Road.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds refuel over Kansas with help from tankers based at Wichita's McConnell Air Force Base. The Thunderbirds will return to McConnell for an air show in September.

Where do I park?

There will be free parking available. It was announced Saturday night that the primary parking lot for the air show — a grassy field at Pawnee and Rock — was reopened. That lot was closed Saturday because of the soggy weather last week.

The secondary parking area is on the east side of South Oliver, between 31st Street South and MacArthur (near Spirit AeroSystems and Air Capital Flight Line, the former Boeing site).

There will be handicapped parking available there, as well as free, continuous shuttle service for transportation to the show’s entrance.

That parking lot will also serve as the pick-up/drop-off site for Uber, Lyft and other taxi drivers.

Base officials expect to see daily attendance of between 60,000 and 75,000 people.

Traffic control will be provided by Wichita police and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

Where can I see a schedule of events?

Base officials are not releasing an official schedule of events until the morning of the air show, in the interest of security and other operational concerns.

The schedule is expected to be the same both days.

Check this weekend to see a complete schedule of events.

Here is a list of performers confirmed for the air show: Air Force Thunderbirds, Patriot Parachute Team, Redline Airshows, Brian Correll Airshows, Scott Francis Airshows, Smoke N Thunder, Tora Tora Tora, Fighter Jets Inc., Vampire Airshows, Greg Shelton Airshows, Kent Pietsch Airshows and Ace Maker Airshows. There will be fly-bys by an A-10, B-2, C-17 and a KC-135.

Wichitan and aerobatics pilot Scott Francis marks his return with his first performance in the Air Capital at next weekend’s Frontiers in Flight air show at McConnell Air Force Base. View footage of him in the 2016 Offutt AFB Airshow.

Generally, static displays will be open all day, and crew members will be nearby to talk about their planes.

What can I bring to the air show?

Expect TSA/airport-level security measures to be in place at the air show.

Don’t bring any weapons, outside food and drink (except empty refillable water bottles), flammable items, clothing with profanity, nudity, racist intent or graphic violence of any kind, or clothing that impersonates military or law-enforcement officers.

You’re fine bringing diaper bags, small purses, wheelchairs, strollers, cameras, lawn chairs, umbrellas and sunscreen.

For a full list, visit

Contributing: Jerry Siebenmark of the Eagle