At last, Fairbanks area residents got a close-up look at an F-35 fighter aircraft.

Two of the new fighters were on display at Eielson Air Force Base’s for the installation’s first airshow since 2008. The airshow drew thousands of people.

Eielson will be home to two squadrons of F-35 Lightning II aircraft beginning next year. Extensive construction has been underway at the base in preparation for the arrival of the aircraft and thousands of military personnel and dependents.

The airshow featured the F-35 Lightning II Demo Team, the Pacific Air Forces F-16 Viper Demo Team, the Air Force Academy Wings of Blue skydiving team, a joint forces demonstration of Army and Air Force units, including an F-22 fighter.

Numerous aircraft were on static display: F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-15 Strike Eagle, C-12 Huron, KC-135 Stratotanker, MC-130J Commando II, UH-60 Black Hawk, UH-72 Lakota, AH-64 Apache, T-33 Shooting Star, G-21 Goose, C-46 Commando, C-5 Galaxy, A-10 Thunderbolt II and B-52 Stratofortress.

The airshow was an objective of Col. Benjamin Bishop, who took command of the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson in July 2018.

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