BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (KSLA) - Barksdale Air Force Base is bustling ahead of the 2021 Defenders of Liberty Air & Space Show this weekend.
“I am so excited,” said 2nd Bomb Wing Commander Col. Mark Dmytryszyn. “The inner 8-year-old in me is ready to go. This year’s airshow we have five hours of nothing but in the air airplane action. The F-22 demonstration team is going to be here, we are going to get a B-2 flyby, you’re going to see WWII vintage bombers, fighters and a whole mix in-between, plus the Thunderbirds are headlining. We of course will also have the mighty B-52 home here at Striker Nation and 2nd Bomb Wing here at Barksdale.”
Due to COVID-19, the air show will be a little different this year; instead of allowing large crowds to gather on the flight line like years past, it will be a drive-thru format. On Tuesday, May 4, airmen walked through what that will look like.
“It’s very similar to tailgating,” Dmytryszyn said. “So everyone who got a ticket, and it’s a ticket per vehicle, not ticket per person, you’ll get access to the base and access to the flight line. That ticket will get you a roughly 10 ft. x 20 ft. parking spot. Inside that parking spot is yours. You can get out of your vehicle, set up your lawn chair, a small umbrella because it’s going to be hot out there. Weather is looking good for us. You can take off your mask if you are in your vehicle or in your reserved space. We do ask though that if you leave your reserved space, like you have to use the restroom, you put your mask on. By doing so, you are protecting the mission here on Barksdale.”
Other rules include spectators must remain in their tailgate or parking space throughout the show unless going to the restroom. Sitting or standing on top of a vehicle is not permitted, but truck tailgates are ok. Vehicles and persons are subject to search at any time. No pets are permitted other than service animals. No smoking is allowed.
There will be a simulcast on Barksdale’s 2nd Bomb Wing YouTube channel and FM broadcast so you can hear the announcers. When you come on base, you will be given information you can hang on your rearview mirror with all the rules, how to park and information on the air show.
“There is also a QR code at the bottom,” Dmytryszyn said. “If you scan that with your phone it will take you to the websites, the YouTube channel, and directions to the FM broadcaster so you can hear what the announcers are saying. This is a massive community event. Everyone is going to come out and have a great time, see the airmen in action, see a whole bunch of airplanes in action. We want everyone to come out, have a great time and be safe. We really are super excited to have an aviation show back here in Northwest Louisiana.”
Admission is free. There will be free, on-base parking on the flight line to view the show. Overnight parking is not permitted. No weapons are allowed on base. Vehicles and persons are subject to search.
Food and drinks will not be available for purchase. You have to bring what you need. Grills and cooking devices are not permitted. Glass bottles are not allowed.
The air show is set for May 8 and 9. The gates open at 9 a.m. Saturday and the show starts at 11 a.m. Due to weather, the Sunday show will be moved up to 10 a.m.
Motorists should expect some delays in the vicinity of BAFB during the air show, especially on Barksdale Boulevard. The Bossier City Police Department suggests motorists not attending the ais show use Arthur Ray Teague Parkway as an alternate route.
When the gates open at 9 a.m., traffic entering the base will run as normal. When the air show ends, base officials will initiate a contraflow route at the West Gate with all four lanes designated for outbound traffic. No vehicles will be allowed to enter the West Gate during this time, between 3-4 p.m.
The traffic flow for exiting vehicles at the North Gate will remain unchanged.
Additional Bossier City police officers will be stationed in front of the Shreveport Gate on Barksdale Boulevard and at other major intersections to help traffic enter and exit the base as quickly and safely as possible.
One ticket per vehicle is required. You can reserve your ticket here.