Fort Collins and Loveland residents, prepare for takeoffs — and landings. The roar of the Air Force Thunderbirds’ F-16 jets will be heard loud and clear starting Sunday.
The famed Thunderbirds won’t be performing at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, but they will be using its runway to land and takeoff as they head north to the Cheyenne area to practice for their Wednesday Wings over Warren Air Show in conjunction with Cheyenne Frontier Days.
The first of the Fighting Falcon jets are expected to arrive at the airport owned by the cities of Loveland and Fort Collins on Sunday after the team’s performance in Great Falls, Montana, said Jason Licon, airport director.
Because the Thunderbirds will not be performing any maneuvers in our area, there will be no viewing, parking or traffic control in the area of the airport, Licon said. He expects the jets to depart from the airport Thursday morning.
“People will notice because those aircraft produce a lot more noise impact than what traditionally comes from the airport,” Licon said.
Wings over Warren is free and takes place Wednesday at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne. The drive-in event runs from 9-11 a.m. Parking opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 8:30 a.m.
In addition to the Thunderbirds, the air show also will feature U.S. Air Force Academy Wings of Blue Parachute Team, military flyovers and demonstrations.
Northern Colorado Regional Airport hosted the Great Colorado Airshow in October, featuring the Navy Blue Angels squadron. The event drew tens of thousands of spectators. Residents also were able to watch the team practicing in their F/A-18 Super Hornet jets for days before the event.
Before last year’s event, the the airport had not hosted such a show since the Blue Angels in 2002. The airport hosted the Wings of Freedom tour featuring World War II aircraft and veterans in 2019.
Licon said he is unsure when the airport will host another show featuring performances by such highly sought-after squadrons as the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds. He said hosting shows featuring those teams usually happens every 15 years or more.