KNOB NOSTER – Whiteman Air Force Base hosted a record-breaking 100,000 spectators from across the globe June 16-17 at the free Wings Over Whiteman Air and Space Show and Open House.
The show provided 17 aerial acts, including the the A-10C Thunderbolt II demo team and the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, along with Whiteman AFB’s B-2 Stealth bomber and T-38 Talon jet and many more.
The Air Force Heartland Band performed throughout the weekend.
Guests interacted with air show performers and ventured onboard various modern and historic military aircraft, including the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, a drone aircraft which has been flying since 2001, and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber used by the U.S. Air Force since the 1950s.
Dan Smith and his wife, Bernice, natives of Golden, Missouri, attended Wings Over Whiteman for the first time this weekend.
“We love airplanes – any size, any shape, any form,” Dan Smith said. “We have been to at least 50 other air shows, but this here is just top notch.”
First Lt. Jordan Tencati, a pilot assigned to the 13th Bomb Squadron at Whiteman, toured one of the less than 100 P-51 Mustangs still flying. The aircraft flew during World War II over Warmingford, England.
Tencati sat in the pilot’s seat. He noted its simplicity and acknowledged the contributions of the flyers.
“There’s a lot of heritage in this plane,” Tencati said. “I have a lot of appreciation for the people who flew this plane, for their sacrifice.”
Tencati, a T-38 instructor, begins training as a B-2 Stealth Bomber pilot next year.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the B-2’s inaugural flight. The man whose name is on the Ike Skelton Bridge in southern Ray County is credited as “the father of the B-2” for his work in talking President Ronald Reagan into authorizing the bomber’s construction.
During the flyover performance, the stealth bomber demonstrated it’s “On time, on target” capabilities with an explosive pyrotechnics display.
The weekend wrapped up with the F-22 Raptor Demonstration team’s Heritage flight. The F-22 flew in formation with the P-51 Mustang and the A-10 Thunderbolt.
The Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation showcases modern fighter jets flying in formation with World War II, Korean and Vietnam era aircraft, 2nd Lt. Sam Eckholm, who works as a public affairs officer for the F-22 demonstration team, said.