Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona Air Show | Event Guide

Air Show Thunder Lightning Over Arizona Tucson | Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona Air Show | Event Guide

Hey Tucson! You're invited to Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's Annual Open House.

The 2025 Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona Air Show promises to be a weekend packed with heart-pounding air performances and family-friendly activities.

The free event will display the pride, precision, and professionalism the U.S. Air Force represents and provide the community an opportunity to interact with the Airmen responsible for executing Davis-Monthan’s rescue and attack missions, supporting six combatant commanders around the globe every day.

Lt Erin Ranaweera explained, "This is an opportunity for the base to show our appreciation to the great Tucson community. We are opening the gates to D-M and giving you the chance to learn more about who we are and what we do while you enjoy fabulous aerial demonstrations."


What are the dates for the 2025 Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona?

The 2025 open house will take place on March 22-23, 2025.

NOTE: Preliminary information indicates that there will not be a Thunder & Lightning Over Arizona show in 2024. We will keep this page updated as soon as we receive additional details.

What is the location of Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona?

Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona is held at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Central Tucson.

The Craycroft and Swan Gates will be open for general public entry to the Open House.

What are the hours?

  • 9:00am-5:00pm on both days
  • *The gates open at 9:00am to the general public.

What is the schedule/agenda for each day?

A full schedule will not be posted due to possible delays and scheduling. Gates will open at 9:00am.

The 2025 Thunder & Lightning Over Arizona Air Show will feature performances by:

  • U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds"
  • A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team
  • F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team
  • Wings of Blue Jump Team
  • Vicky Benzing
  • Tom Larkin
  • KP Stunt Productions
  • Red Bull Fixed-Wing aircraft and skydivers
  • Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Shows
  • Pylon Aviation BE 105 Helicopter
  • T-35 Shooting Star
  • EA-18G Growler
  • 161 Air Reserve Wing KC-135
  • Desert Lighting Team Combat Search and Rescue demonstration

Why would I go to Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona?

  • To attend a fun event for the whole family
  • To watch aerial demonstrations
  • To walk around 45 different static aircraft
  • To meet the airmen on base
  • To learn about D-M and the Air Force

What documentation is required to get on to the base on the days of the open house?

No documentation is required. This is a free event and the base will be open to the public throughout the weekend.

How much does it cost?

Although General Admission is FREE, a limited amount of platinum and premium seats are available for purchase while supplies last.

What is the parking situation?

General Parking is FREE. Personal vehicles are allowed entry through general public access areas.

The Craycroft and Swan Gates will be open for general public entry to the Open House.

The Craycroft Gate is located at Craycroft Road and Golf Links Road. It will be open for inbound Open House traffic only, Saturday and Sunday from 9am until 2pm. The Craycroft Gate will be open for outbound traffic only, Saturday and Sunday from 3pm to 5pm.

The Swan Gate is located at Swan Road and Golf Links Road. It will be open for inbound (2 lanes) and outbound (1 lane) Open House traffic, Saturday and Sunday from 9am until 2pm. The Swan Gate will be open for outbound (3 lanes) Open House traffic only, Saturday and Sunday from 3pm until 5pm.

Personnel will be in place to direct traffic both days of the event.

What should I wear?

Temperatures in this region in late March range from 47°F to 79°F, often with blue skies and lots of sun. The event is outdoors so good walking shoes and light layers are advisable. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats with visors would also come in handy.

What is the seating like? Should people bring pop-up chairs and/or umbrellas?

There will be a small number of bleachers available on the flight line for seating. Pop-up chairs and umbrellas are not permitted, however there are sunshades on the flightline (normally shading the A-10s) that will provide more than enough shade for visitors. Chairs will be available for rent for $5 for the whole day.

What should I bring with me?

  • Cash for food, drinks, chairs, and souvenirs
  • An empty water bottle to stay hydrated *Containers for water must be plastic and empty to get through checkpoints.
  • Snacks in non-glass containers
  • Sunscreen
  • Ear protection

Note that coolers, backpacks, large purses, camera bags, camelbacks, tents/canopies, walking sticks, drones, alcoholic beverages, and bicycles will not be permitted.

Are bathrooms available?

Porta-potties and hand-washing stations will be located throughout the flight line and in all visitor areas for easy access.

Can I bring my dog to the air show?

All pets are prohibited from the Thunder and Lightning over Arizona grounds. Service animals assisting physically challenged guests will be authorized.

Is the Festival wheelchair accessible?

Yes, there will be handicap parking and the flight line is completely wheelchair accessible. 


Is outside food allowed at Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona?

Snacks in non-glass containers are permitted, but note that there will be numerous vendors with food for sale on the flight line throughout both days.

What dining venues are available on-site?

Standard fair/festival food will be available for purchase: burgers, hot dogs, gyros, pizza, churros, etc.

What restaurants are located near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base?

Our top picks within a 7-mile radius include:

  • El Guero Canelo, 5802 E. 22nd St (2 miles away) - tacos, burros, tortas, Sonoran hot dogs
  • Cielos, 306 N. Alvernon Way (4.7 miles away) - seasonal cuisine, classic craft cocktails
  • Feast, 3719 E. Speedway Blvd (5.6 miles away) - brunch, lunch, dinner, wine, cocktails
  • Prep & Pastry, 6450 E. Grant Rd (6.5 miles away) - new American brunch, modern cocktails, pastries
  • Zinburger, 6390 E. Grant Rd (6.5 miles away) - burgers, fries, milkshakes


Can kids attend Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona?

Yes! There will be numerous static aircraft displays where kids can get up close and touch airplanes. In addition, various units on base will be showcasing their missions and their equipment [including the Explosive Ordinance Pyrotechnics unit]. There will also be bouncy castles and other activities in the Kid Zone for smaller children.

Should I bring a stroller?

Yes. A stroller or wagon will likely be useful as you walk around the base with little ones.

Will I need earplugs for myself or my children?

Yes. DM recommends that you bring ear protection for yourself and your children.

Is there a designated area for nursing moms?


Are changing tables available?



What hotels do you recommend near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base?

The following hotels/resorts are within 30-35 minutes of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base:

Another terrific option is to find a vacation rental thru Tucson Vacation Rentals.


Is the air show active on social media?

Yes! You can follow Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Additionally, you can follow Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on Facebook and Twitter.

What else do I need to know before I go to the Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona?

  • This is a popular event! Crowds can be thick and the sun can be intense. Be sure to bring plenty of water and wear sun protection.
  • Practice patience. There are often long traffic lines at both entrances and exits of the base. Be sure to have enough gas in your tank to wait in congested traffic. In past years, cars have sometimes been in line for 30+ minutes.
  • Davis-Monthan officials recommend that both adults and children wear ear protection this event. This could be as simple as soft foam earplugs or you can opt for over-the-ear ear protection muffs (for kids or adults).

That just about covers it. Have a great time!

TucsonTopia contains both paid and non-paid mentions of businesses and organizations in and around Tucson, Arizona. Any reference made here to local businesses, services, classes, etc. is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement. We encourage you to do your own research before participating in an event or engaging with a local business or organization. The intent of TucsonTopia is to provide ideas for family-friendly activities, events, and resources. Participants assume all risks for any activities they engage in. TucsonTopia is not responsible for any injuries or problems that may arise from partaking in any of these events and activities.
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