Thunderbirds Cancel 2023 Cheyenne Airshow Because Airport Is Under Construction Again

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will not be performing during this year's Cheyenne Frontier Days due to safety concerns. Because the Cheyenne airport will be under construction yet again, the Thunderbirds said lack of a working emergency runway caused them to cancel.

Jimmy Orr

February 03, 20232 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

For only the second time since 1953, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will not be slated to perform during Cheyenne Frontier Days.

F.E. Warren Air Force Base on Thursday announced there would not be a “Wings Over Warren” airshow because the Thunderbirds pulled out because of safety concerns.

The demonstration team determined that because the Cheyenne Airport continues to be under construction, it wasn’t safe for them to perform as there would be no emergency landing airfield nearby.

“The closure of the large runway in Cheyenne is a key factor in this decision. After much discussion and consideration, canceling the show for 2023 is the best way to ensure the safety of our community and the Thunderbirds,” said Col. Catherine Barrington, commander of the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren.

“While we are sad to discontinue our airshow, we understand the risk that comes with performing and are grateful to the Thunderbirds for their many years of support,” she said.

Continuing Airport Troubles

The airport announced last week it would be closed this year from April through September for runway construction.

Two years ago, the airport was closed to all commercial traffic during the same five-month period.

And it won’t stop this summer. In 2024, there will be more construction to fix the construction done in 2021.

“They took two years to do a four-month project,” Airport Director Tim Bradshaw told Cowboy State Daily. “And some of the concrete they’ve poured failed the testing standards.” 

He said there will be a reduced number of seats on flights in 2024, but there will eventually be air service.

Last Year

There were problems with the air show in 2022. One of the fighter jets had to make an emergency landing in Fort Collins because of a hydraulic leak.

“This forced the rest of the team to divert across Denver International Airport and land at Buckley Space Force Base, which has the closest necessary safety equipment for F-16 emergency landings,” a release from F.E. Warren AFB said.

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Jimmy Orr

Executive Editor

A third-generation Wyomingite, Jimmy Orr is the executive editor and co-founder of Cowboy State Daily.