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2014 HAFB Air Show: Thunderbirds, more
by TOM BUSSELBERG
Mar 11, 2014 | 3008 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jet flying near Hill Air Force Base - Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
Jet flying near Hill Air Force Base - Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
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HILL AFB - Between 400,000 and 500,000 spectators are expected to converge on Hill AFB in late June for the 2014 Air Show.

The popular Thunderbirds Air Force team will highlight the show, but many other performers are lined up, said Kevin Ireland, the show’s coordinator.

The free show has been moved back, a month, to June 28 and 29, and gates will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

“We have been able to bring in some gigantic, incredible performers we’ve been trying to get for a couple of years,” Ireland said.

Those include Red Bull pilot Kirby Chambliss and the Red Bull team. He travels around the world and does air races on the Red Bull circuit.

Civilian performer Rob Holland, the multi-national and international aerobatics champion, will perform his “Ultimate Airshow,” along with a plethora of other acts, Ireland said.

Those include Gary Rower and his Pitt & Whitney R985, Bill stein and his Edge 450, along with Buck Roetman and his Christen Eagle, among many others.

There will also be exhibits of aircraft deployed in various wars, including Afghanistan an earlier, as well as many other displays.

Thanks to support from the State Legislature and private industry donations, the show will continue to be free this year, Ireland said.

“I do foresee that in the future, that may change because of the cost (to put it on),” he said. “The Air Force  is on a limited budget. The base role has diminished, over the years, through no fault of theirs. It’s a sign of the times,,” he said.

Their big contribution comes in the form of substantial manpower necessary to stage such a large event.

To do an air show, that really needs to be a community effort.”

The two-day event is expected to generate $30 million in economic impact. That’s thanks to people from out-of-town staying in area hotels, eating at local restaurants, and spending otherwise, he said.

“People call me weekly about where to stay, how long the drive is. We’ve become very popular in the West,” said Ireland, who works for the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce.

People travel from all over Utah and neighboring states to attend. 

It’s the largest air show on a federal installation, most such events draw fewer people, he said.

The Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee spearheads the event, along with the Davis and Weber Chambers and the Salt Lake Chamber, headed by Lane Beattie of West Bountiful.

“We’ve done a really good job at bringing in the top acts,” Ireland said. “We also treat our performers very well. Every year we try to improve their experience, whether through food offerings, ease of getting in and out, by the performers. Those are things that create a perfect atmosphere to come and enjoy an air show.”

“The air show is the largest public event in the state,” said Jim Smith, Davis Chamber President. “We’re excited about the level of cooperation between the Air Force and the local communities. They chose us as one of only two places they’ll do air shows. The community involvement is what drove the selection of Hill as the site for one of those air shows.”

“Before I moved here, I had no idea how many people love to come to air shows. It’s a tremendous weekend event,” said County Commission John Petroff.

He said logistics are being worked out with UTA and FrontRunner to provide extra buses and trains for the huge crowds.

It also gives law enforcement agencies a chance to work together in coordinating their end of such an event, he said. 

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