Last summer’s air show in Biloxi proved the best place to view the amazing pilots and what their jets can do over the water.
Yet the 100,000 or more people who attended each previous air show in Biloxi also enjoyed the displays and performances at Keesler Air Force Base.
So on May 4-5, Keesler and the City of Biloxi will team up with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds to present Thunder Over the Sound that will combine the base and the beach for an air show extraordinaire.
The shows are free and nearly identical both days, with the exception of a B-2 Stealth bomber and a B-52 flyby only on Saturday.
Gates open at 7:30 a.m. and events start at around 8:30 a.m. at the Keesler airstrip, with aerial performances, ground demonstrations and displays of military aircraft.
Kids can stretch their minds at the science and technology center with its interactive exhibits and then work off some energy with bouncy castles and obstacle courses.
Starting at 1 p.m. the action moves to the beach for an afternoon of flight. The Thunderbirds are the grand finale and expected to roar overhead beginning at about 3-3:30 p.m., organizers say, and will fly for about an hour.
Here’s what you need to know about Thunder Over the Sound:
Performing at Keesler starting at 8:30 a.m. and on the beach starting at 1 p.m.
- Team Aeroshell – 4x AT-6D
- Army Special Ops – Black Daggers
- Alabama Boys
- Twin Tigers – 2x Yak-55s
- Jeremy Holt – Pegasus Bi-Plane
- Wild Blue Rodeo – RV-8
- Scott Francis – MXS
- B-25 “Killer Bee”
- P-51 Quick Silver Mustang
- OV-1 Mohawk
- Trojan Thunder – 6x T-28A
- C-17 Globemaster III
Saturday only — Beach flyovers of B-2 Stealth Bomber and B-52 Stratofortress
At Keesler only — Smoke and Thunder Jet Truck, Static and STEM activities
The final performances both days will be the Thunderbirds, beginning around 3-3:30 p.m. People will be able to see them from the beaches all along Biloxi, although the best viewing spots will be near White Avenue, down from Keesler, and for photo ops near the Biloxi Lighthouse. The six F-16 Fighting Falcons fly at 500-600 miles per hour. They fly as close as 18 inches apart during their air demonstrations.
The events are free and no tickets are needed. Box seating in the shade with restrooms, catered food and a cash bar is available on the base for $55 and on the beach for $75.
Traffic and parking
▪ The orange traffic cones will be out on parts of U.S. 90 during the airshow and the center lanes in each direction will be used for emergency vehicles and shuttle buses.
▪ Parking at Keesler AF Base is open only to Department of Defense ID card holders, who must enter through the Meadows or Pass Road Gate, or handicapped visitors, who must use the Meadows Road Gate. Handicapped visitors have a valid ID, car insurance, current vehicle registration and a handicapped license plate or placard.
▪ All other visitors must park off base and use the airshow shuttle buses that will run in continuous loops all day. Free shuttle buses will start running at 8:30 a.m. from five parking locations with color-coded routes for shuttle buses that run continuously through the day:
From I-110 at Bayview Avenue exit:
- IP Casino (purple) gravel parking lot to the left
- Harrison Count (blue) lot to the right
- Oak Park (red) to the right
From the east and Ocean Springs:
- Point Cadet (yellow) off Fifth Street at the former Margaritaville Casino lot
From Gulfport and the west:
- Coast Coliseum (green). A $5 parking fee will be charged
Food and vendors
Food trucks and portable bathrooms will be set up at the base and at parking bays along the beach.
Keesler will provide a water buffalo for free refills of water bottles. Formula and snacks are allowed but people should purchase other beverages and lunch from the food truck. Beer will be sold.
What to bring and leave home
Bags will be searched and metal detectors will be in use at Keesler and any weapons or other prohibited items will be confiscated.
Allowed: Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, folding chairs, water, strollers or wagons, hearing protection for kids, small purses, diaper bags, phones, cameras
- pop up tents
- golf carts