Thunder Preview-5 (copy)

A fighter jet moves above Jeffersonville on Friday during a practice run for Thunder Over Louisville in this 2018 file photo. 

LOUISVILLE — We’re just a little over a week from the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies: Thunder Over Louisville.

This year’s event, set for Saturday, April 13, will include a packed air show, with non-stop military and civilian air acts. The Derby Festival has released the full list of performers scheduled for this year’s show — which includes F-15s, F-16s, A-10s, F-18s, a B-52, and C-130 along with warbirds, civilian acts and parachute teams.

“Thunder has one of the top air shows in the country, and this year’s lineup is one you don’t want to miss,” Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival president and CEO, stated in a news release. “A big thanks to the Kentucky Air National Guard, Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport and Bowman Field. Without their support, we couldn’t put on an air show of this caliber – or have a place to put all those planes.”

Some of the acts performing include the U.S. Navy F/A-18 Tac Demo Team, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, and the 123rd Kentucky Air National Guard. New to the Air Show this year is Trojan Thunder, a six ship team of T-28 Trojans, who fly overhead in aerial formations with a backdrop of noise from the nine-cylinder Curtiss-Wright engines; as well as the Swamp Fox P-51 Mustang.

Other acts scheduled to perform include Billy Werth, Matt Younkin’s Twin Beech 18, KC Flight Formation Team with their red, white and blue smoke, Lee Leet and many more. The complete list of air acts can be found online at

Thunder Over Louisville was first held at Cardinal Stadium in 1990. Air acts were added to the event in 1991, when it moved to the Waterfront. That year, eight planes and skydivers took part in the pre-show leading up to the fireworks. The Air Show was officially added to the Festival’s schedule in 1992 and has since become one of the top air shows in the country.

Thunder Over Louisville - the Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies - is one of the more than 70 events produced by the Derby Festival in the spring. The 2019 Thunder Over Louisville, themed “The Wonderful World of Thunder,” is set for Saturday, April 13, and will be the 30th annual production.


A-10: 163 Fighter Squadron, Indiana Air National Guard

Acemaker T-33: Greg Coyler

AH-1/UH-1: HMLA 773 Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron

B-52: 2nd Bomb Wing Barksdale U.S. Air Force Base, Louisiana

Billy Werth: Pitts

C-17: 445th Airlift Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

C-17: 157th Airlift Wing, Shepherd Field Air National Guard Base, West Virginia

CH-53: HM-14 Norfolk Naval Station, Virginia

C-130J: 39AS Dyess Air Force Base, Texas

CT-142: 402 Squadron Winnipeg, Royal Canadian Air Force

C-130H: 123rd Airlift Wing, Kentucky Air National Guard, Louisville

CF-18: 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron Cold Lake, Royal Canadian Air Force

CT-155: 419 Squadron Cold Lake, Royal Canadian Air Force

F/A-18: VFA-106 Super Hornet Tac Demo, U.S. Navy

F-15C: 159th Fighter Wing Louisiana Air National Guard

F-16: 482 Fighter Wing, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida

F-16: 180th Fighter Wing Toledo Air National Guard, Ohio

HC-130: Patrick Air Force Base, Florida

KC-135: 161st Air Refueling Wing, Arizona Air National Guard

KC Flight: RV-4 Color Smoke trails

Lee Leet: Super Tucano

Matt Younkin: Twin Beech

MH-60R: HSM-40 military base, Florida

Swampfox P-51 Mustang

T-6: 71st Flying Training Wing Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma

T-38: 80th Flying Training Wing (Euro- NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program) Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas

Trojan Thunder: T-28

United States Army Parachute Team (U.S. Army Golden Knights)

UPS -747-8

U.S. Navy Legacy Flight

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