Frontiers in Flight soars to new heights

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Felicia Przydzial
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

About 70,000 people from all over the local area made their way to Frontiers in Flight Open House and Airshow, Sept. 24-25, 2022.

McConnell typically holds an airshow every 2 years, but due to COVID-19 arising in 2020 the airshow was pushed back.

“This was the first airshow at McConnell since 2018,” said Col. Nate Vogel, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “Our local communities won’t have to wait 4 years for the next one.”

The airshow included performances by Misty Blues, an all women jump team of 10 members, as well as, Randy Ball who demonstrated the capabilities of the MiG-17F. The show also included a reenactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the “Tora, Tora, Tora” Demonstration Team, and both Matt Younkin, Beech-18 pilot, and Brian Correll, Pitts S2S Biplane pilot, put on great performances for the crowd. Even McConnell’s very own KC-46A Pegasus and KC-135 Stratotanker performed a flyover. Both days the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds closed out the show with their aerial performance.

“The airshow is a tremendous gift to the communities around Wichita,” said Arlen Honts, McConnell Golden Eagle. “I am impressed by the number of people that have said to me how much they appreciate the opportunity to enjoy the show and to just be on base. Knowing the amount of planning and effort that has gone into bringing the airshow here makes the gift even more special. It’s not that often that we in the community get to see the precision and professionalism of the Air Force up close.”

On Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, the day before the airshow, Capt. Ryan Sheive, airshow operations director, flew a Cessna 310 to a local airfield. Once he arrived, he met with 17 civilian pilots, who had their own aircraft, and flew with them in formation back to McConnell. After landing, the civilian aircraft taxied in and went to their assigned locations to join military aircraft part of the static displays. The airshow had over 30 static displays comprising of both civilian and military aircraft including an A-26, PT-28, C-17 Globemaster III, KC-10 Extender and a Boeing 777.

The event also included a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math area in one of the hangars for kids to explore and experiment with different areas to explore such as canine search and rescue dogs, Girl Scouts, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal. There was also a kids zone that had even more activities for the kids to enjoy such as building with Legos, temporary tattoos, temporary colored hair spray, a KC-46A Pegasus static display and a carnival ride that kids could hop on and spin around with their friends and families.

“Our team worked hard for over a year to plan and execute Frontiers in Flight 2022 for the local communities we love so much,” said Vogel. “We hope that our fellow citizens and community members left the show with a greater appreciation of the discipline, dedication, and professionalism of the Air Force and our McConnell Airmen. Additionally, we hope that we helped inspire the next generation of Airmen. One of our constant sayings has been that a number of Airmen, 20 years from now, will trace their beginning interest in the Air Force back to this Airshow.”