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Military Pilots Prepare for “Lightning in the Desert” at Luke Air Force Base’s Luke Days

Lightning in the Desert at Luke Air Force Base

Litchfield Park, ARIZ. (March 14, 2014) – The sweet sights and sounds of freedom were in the air as the long awaited Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning made its first public appearance Friday afternoon during a practice flight for this weekend’s Lightning in the Desert at Luke Air Force Base in Litchfield Park.  Due to budget shortfalls, the air show at Luke AFB hasn’t been held since 2009 when the Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor made it’s first appearance in the Valley of the Sun.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning makes its first public appearance during practice for Lightning in the Desert at Luke Air Force Base in Litchfield Park.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning makes its first public appearance during practice for Lightning in the Desert at Luke Air Force Base in Litchfield Park.

The Lockheed Martin F-35, the latest Joint Strike Fighter in the Air Force and Navy’s arsenal made several historical flights over Luke with the P-38 Lightning, the F-86 Sabre and General Dynamic’s F-16 Fighting Falcon.  The F-16 will eventually be phased out at Luke as monthly deliveries of the new stealth fighter will eventually supply the base with six squadrons, each having 24 of the F-35’s which contain the latest technology in the military aviation market.  Luke should have 15 more of the multi-role jet by the end of 2014.

Luke Air Force Base will open its gates to the public for the first time in several years for the Lightning in the Desert air show.  Aside from the F-35, the main attraction for the show will be an approximately 40 minute flight demonstration by the United States Air Force’s Thunderbirds.  Other demonstrations will be held by Luke’s own fighter pilots as they demonstrate a close air support mission.  Other demonstrations by the V-22 Osprey and more can be seen during the show.

Static displays include military aircraft of the likes of the F-22 Raptor, the A-10 Warthog, the F-18, the F-16, the KC-10, the KC-135, a German Air Force Tornado bomber and so much more.

“Lightning in the Desert” will be held on both Saturday and Sunday and is open to the public free of charge.  Gates open at 9:00 am.  The air show begins at 11:00 am.  The show will be over at 4 pm and the Base will be secured at 6:00 pm.

The shows can draw upwards of 100,000 people so give yourself plenty of time to get there.

Scroll down to check out some of the sights from Friday’s practice for “Lightning in the Desert” at Luke Air Force base.

Click here for more information on the show.

Click here to purchase high-resolution prints and digital downloads from Friday’s show.

Click here to purchase high-resolution prints and digital downloads from Friday’s show.

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