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As a U.S. servicemember looks on, a group of South Korean students enjoys last year's Osan Air and Space Power Day. The event happens again Sunday.

As a U.S. servicemember looks on, a group of South Korean students enjoys last year's Osan Air and Space Power Day. The event happens again Sunday. (Courtesy of USAF)

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — High-performance jet fighters roaring past in formation, a dramatic “rescue” mission, live bands and a play area for kids all will be in the mix when Osan Air Base hosts an open house for the South Korean public on Sunday.

The second annual Air and Space Power Day is expected to run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Osan, South Korea’s largest air base.

This year’s plans call for a fast-paced array of air power demonstrations, including a simulated attack on an airfield and a clockwork-intricate combat search-and-rescue mission, as well aircraft teams showing off their aerobatic prowess in tightly choreographed stunts and formation changes.

The air show’s theme is “the cooperative effort between the Korean Air Force and our Air Force,” said 1st Lt. Tom Montgomery, a base spokesman.

“Air Power Day is a day we set aside to share our mission and our equipment with the local community — in particular, our Korean friends.”

Last year’s event drew more than 20,000 spectators. A bigger turnout is expected this year because of heavier publicity, he said.

South Korea’s Air Force will be represented in the skies by its six-plane Black Eagles aerobatic flight team, which will perform a series of climbs, loops, rolls, banks, and other tricky aerial maneuvers.

Another of the day’s highlights calls for four A-10s and two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters to simulate the rescue of a downed flier.

“We take all those pieces of a really complex mission that usually lasts up to six hours, and we take it and compress it down to a scripted environment,” said Capt. Marty Garrett, chief of A-10 weapons and tactics in the 51st Operations Support Squadron.

“So we can show the people all the pieces of this puzzle that we have to solve in a combat rescue mission,” Garrett said

Also planned are maneuvers by a single U.S. F-16, to demonstrate what the Falcon can do.

“The F-16’s ability to hold the 9G turn is phenomenal, and the aircraft is one of the most high-performance in the world,” Montgomery said. “G” refers to gravitational forces that pull on the pilot during flight.

“It’ll show the crowd everything it can do,” he said. “In fact at one point, the pilot will probably weigh close to 2,000 pounds under the force of the Gs, but that’s just to demonstrate what every pilot in the Air Force is capable of doing in the F-16.”

And there’ll be a combined fly-by of nine warplanes: two F-16 Fighting Falcons, two A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthogs” and five South Korean F-4E Phantom jets.

Garrett said talking with spectators is one of the best things about open houses. “Usually after the demonstrations, we’ll typically be on the ramp to walk around … answer questions about what just happened. The best part is getting the people’s perceptions about what we do and what our lives are like and what our training is like and what kind of people we’re like,” he said.

Scheduled entertainment includes the seven-member Pacific Trends band, part of the 30-member U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific-Asia at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and the 8th U.S. Army Band out of Seoul.

A Korean traditional dance group and South Korean Air Force band and drill team also are scheduled.

The Air Force especially hopes to thrill the kids, Montgomery said.

“There’ll also be a play area for kids that’ll have toys and a ‘bouncy castle,’” he said. “We’re really hoping that kids enjoy the event. … We’d love to see that look in their eyes when they look into the sky and they can’t take their eyes off of there.”


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