2022 Thunder over Dover Air Show

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The weather for the weekend at Dover was unusually hot with bright sunny skies and cool breezes. The air show turned out to be just the same- hot action with cool acts in high aerial display’s.

In celebration of Armed Forces Day May 21, the USASOC Black Daggers Parachute Team opened the weekend show with the American national anthem flag-jump. The Dover show also recognized the 75th anniversary of the USAF starting with a procession of World War II aircraft; B-25, TBM Avenger and P-51. The audience then witnessed more history on parade with a Heritage Cargo-Transport Flight of a WWII C-47 and modern C-17. A Dover C-17 ROYAL and C-5M JUMBO then individually demonstrated their awesome lift capabilities.

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Dover AFB is home to the DoD’s largest USAF base responsible for rapid global airlift. This “First State” base is home to the active duty 436th Eagle and Air Force Reserve’s 512th Liberty Airlift Wings. Both maintain and operate C-5M Super Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. Together, they account for twenty percent of the USAF’s strategic airlift capability; projecting global reach to more than 100 countries with a mission motto- ”To Deliver.” Dover’s C-17 and C-5M were both utilized in the recent evacuation of Afghanistan.

The heat was turned up further with a USAF B-2A Spirit three-pass demonstration. Concluding with massive pyrotechnics being set off at midfield, the strategic stealth bomber then departed for a flyby at the Preakness horse race in Baltimore, MD. Military demos carried on with a USMC MV-22 Osprey and AV-8B Harrier. At their conclusion, a USCG MH-65D Dauphin flew in from Atlantic City, NJ, executing a Search and Rescue Demonstration. Atlantic City’s Coast Guard station is responsible for protecting and saving lives on the nearby Delaware Bay.

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75 years of USAF air power was also on display on the ground, exemplified with a large collection of modern static aircraft including; F-15Es, A-10s, a T-38, KC-46A, KC-10 and, Delaware’s own C-130, C-5M and C-17. There was also a U.S. Navy P-3 and Marine Corps AV-8s along with displays from the U.S. Army. Throughout the day, the public was offered an opportunity to race at top speeds, up and down the runway in exotic cars of their own choosing. These included: Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and Mustangs. Back in the air, the crowd continued to be entertained with exhilarating civilian aerobatic acts by Rob Holland in his MXS and Patrick McAtee’s Extreme Flight Pitts.

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For 2022, Dover had the privilege of hosting both the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Navy Blue Angels Demonstration Teams. This rare opportunity only occurs at one air show throughout the year. The Blue Angels flew first, starting with their KC-130J Fat Albert demo. The team looked great including a perfectly hit Low-Bomb-Burst-Cross when all four jets met at show center, precisely lined-up on top of one another! The Thunderbirds closed out the day with a high-show that included three sneak passes; first from the left, then from the right and lastly from behind. Breaking over the crowd with afterburners on, like a missile flying low overhead, the crowd could feel the heat and ear-piercing shock-wave concussion!

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The Dover, DE community has historically welcomed Dover’s Airmen with open arms. In turn, the Airmen have always been grateful for that relationship and the community’s constant support. More than 75,000 attended the 2022 air show and open house as a way of each saying ”Thank You” to one another.

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