Wings Over Homestead sees record turnout

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Paul Cook
  • 482nd Fighter Wing

Spanning over April 1 and 2, the estimated 140,000 visitors from all over the world had their senses excited by sights, smells, and sounds of aircraft from the last 80 years of aviation at the 2023 Wings Over Homestead Air Show at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds headlined the two-day event that also featured several other military and civilian air acts including Homestead’s own 93rd Fighter Squadron. Guests also had the opportunity to see up-close the many aircraft from across the Department of Defense on static display.

The air show not only showcased the abilities and assets of the military, but also reminded attendees of the sacrifices made by those who choose to wear the uniform.

During the Thunderbirds performance, six F-16 Fighting Falcons flew toward the crowd in a tight diamond formation with only one jet trailing smoke. As the formation reached show center, the smoke trailing fighter jet pulled vertical, climbing rapidly towards the heavens. The remaining aircraft in a missing man formation flew over the crowd.

This missing man formation was in honor of Army Master Sgt. Michael “Ty” Kettenhofen, an Army Golden Knights parachutist, who passed away recently after a training accident at HARB.

Even as the F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team’s engines roared over the crowd and appeared to defy physics with its aerial maneuvers, the real stars of the show were not the aircraft but the Airmen as Col. Joshua Padgett, 482nd Wing Commander, noted.

“We have a great relationship with the local community here in South Florida and events like this give us an opportunity to strengthen it and showcase the 482nd Fighter Wing Airmen,” said  Padgett. “Wings Over Homestead 2023 was a resounding success.”

For those who missed this year’s show, take comfort in knowing that the wing is already planning to make the next air show even better.