WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Thousands of people are expected to attend the air show at McConnell Air Force Base this weekend. The event is popular for many reasons — it’s free, features the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and other aerial performers, and is the first air show and open house at the base in four years.

Frontiers in Flight Open House and Air Show runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25. The many high-flying acts start at noon each day, ending with the Thunderbirds performing at 3 p.m.

In addition to the aerial performances, you can tour four-dozen military and civilian planes along the flight line, including a Dreamlifter, KC-135s, F16s, and Army helicopters. Also, the KSN Storm Tracker 3 vehicle will be in the STEM hangar. Stop by and visit KSN Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman and meteorologists Warren Sears and Lucy Doll.

On Saturday, the attendance was close to 30,000, and with heat in the upper 80s for parts of Wichita, there were multiple heat issues out at the air show.

KSN spoke with The Chief of Public Affairs for the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, John Van Winkle, who confirmed that there were several people that suffered heat-related issues and stopped by medical tents for hydration-related issues.

Van Winkle reminds those going out to McConnell tomorrow for the show to drink plenty of water before and during the show. There will be water stations available, as well as roaming personnel to hand out water. Attendees are allowed to bring their own clear water bottles to refill.

In order to really enjoy the day, it’s best to be prepared. Hopefully, these tips will help.

Parking

Organizers say they put a lot of thought into improving parking since the last air show. However, there will be a lot of cars on Rock Road and the intersecting streets. McConnell says to have enough gas in your tank to wait in congested traffic.

McConnell Air Force Base is on the southeast side of Wichita. It is on Rock Road between Pawnee and 47th Street South.

Click here for a larger map image.

  • If you are heading south on Rock Road, enter the right lane, and volunteers will direct you to park either on Cessna fields (seen in red in the image) or through the main gate to base parking.
  • If you are heading north on Rock Road, follow the signs to enter through the main gate and to get to base parking (seen in green in the image).
  • If you are headed east on Pawnee, there will be signs and volunteers after you pass Woodlawn. They will direct you to park on the Cessna field (seen in red in the image).
  • If you are headed west on Pawnee, turn left on Rock Road and enter the right lane, where volunteers will direct you to park either on Cessna fields (seen in red in the image) or through the main gate to base parking.

McConnell Air Force Base discourages using services such as a cab, Uber or Lyft to get to the show. There is no designated area for you to be picked up. Also, at the end of the show, all lanes will be used for exiting, so a driver would not be able to enter to get you.

Accessibility

If you need wheelchair access, click here to fill out and submit a request.

To enjoy the day, bring:

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sunscreen — there is no shade on the flight line, but there will be shade in the STEM hangar and under the wings of some of the displayed planes
  • Hats with visors
  • Sunglasses
  • Umbrellas — must be smaller than a personal golf umbrella
  • Hearing protection for yourself and family members
  • Empty, clear water bottles to fill at various water stations
  • Snacks in non-glass containers
  • Credit card, mobile payment, or cash for food, drink, alcohol, and souvenirs — there are no ATMs available
  • Seating: folding chairs or blankets
  • Small purse
  • Strollers or wagons for children, diaper bags — may include backpack-style bags smaller than one cubic foot
  • Cameras, video recorders, tripods, binoculars — must be able to demonstrate all items work — be careful before posting video from the show to social media because some of the performers use copyrighted music
  • Necessary medical items — portable coolers for medicine and medical equipment are allowed but are subject to screening

There will be a security checkpoint. Do not bring:

  • Large bags — rucksacks, backpacks or purses bigger than 1 cubic foot
  • Pets — service animals are permitted in accordance with ADA rules
  • Weapons, including scissors, pocket tools, pepper spray, heavy chain-linked jewelry or belts
  • Toy weapons, balloons, Silly String, spray paint
  • Alcohol, illegal drugs, marijuana, CBD oil
  • Flammable items, fireworks
  • Walking sticks — but walkers and medical canes are OK
  • Golf carts, bicycles, skateboards, heelies, roller skates, Rollerblades
  • Large umbrellas, canopies, tents
  • Coolers, grills, or other cooking equipment
  • Drones, radio-controlled aircraft
  • Walkie-talkies, HAM radios, scanners

McConnell Open House map

Click this link to see the layout of the open house. It includes the location of the planes, STEM exhibits, water stations, first aid, bathrooms, and more.

Kid Zone

When your children are still going strong, but you need a break, stop by the Kid Zone and let them work off some energy. The Kid Zone will be at the north end of the flight line, near the STEM hangar and the Lost Child Trailer.

Some of the fun includes an inflatable slide, Lego station, turbo tubs, ladder climb, temporary tattoos, and fun party hair.

Premium seating

The air show and open house are free, but there is a seating area for people who want to pay for VIP seats. It includes box seats for $40, a table for two for $300, and a table for four for $600. The area with tables includes lunch and unlimited soft drinks.

Click here to learn more and to purchase VIP seats. If you need help, call 316-669-9929.

Kansas Aviation Museum Air Show Watch Party

The Kansas Aviation Museum, 3350 George Washington Boulevard, is on the other side of McConnell’s tarmac. It is holding an air show watch party and offering front row, open seating on the tarmac and field. Admission is $20 a vehicle, with up to 12 people allowed per vehicle.

You would still need to bring blankets or lawn chairs. You will also have access to the first floor of the museum. There will be bounce houses, food trucks, and games available.

Click this link to buy tickets in advance. You can buy tickets at the gate, but they will be limited and cash only.