Only the Taliban Views This Type of Las Vegas Air Show

…and it’s a whole lot of pain mixed in with terrible shock and awe!

This Saturday and Sunday, more than 100 of the best fighter planes in the world will loop, swoop and dive in the sky over Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, performing as part of the Aviation Nation 2009 show.

Their eighth consecutive Las Vegas air show is expected to draw more than 100,000 spectators to the base, making it the largest free public event in Nevada this year. 

Queued up on the runway will be aircraft ranging in age from a World War II-era PT-17 Steerman biplane to a new F-22 fighter jet. Other notables include the A-10 Thunderbolt II, C-17 Globemaster III, the Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet and the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16. 

The Air Force Thunderbirds are expected to steal the show again with a brand new maneuver: the diamond-loop takeoff, performed in four new Block 52 F-16s. 

“We get airborne, retract the gear and essentially go straight into a loop and maneuver into the diamond formation,” explains Lt. Col Greg Thomas, the Thunderbirds’ squadron commander. “It’s something the Thunderbirds have never done, and it’s something that most teams can’t do because they don’t have the power we do.” (Each Block 52 packs 29,000 pounds of thrust.) 

The military will be joined by three civilian acts: the Horsemen P-51 Demonstration Team, the Patriots Jet Demonstration Team and California resident Bill Reesman in his MiG-17. 

The show will feature more than just roaring air maneuvers.  Ground displays will depict the history of American aviation and America’s military might, showcasing several military aircraft fresh from Iraq and Afghanistan battlefields. 

Food, beverages and novelties will be available for purchase. 

Free round-trip shuttle bus transportation will be available to and from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The public will not otherwise be allowed entry into Nellis Air Force Base.

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