2024 Schedule & Performers

Join us for the 2024 WaterStone Bank Air & Water Show! Milwaukee has been selected as a 2024 Navy Week site, from July 27 – 28. EXCEPT FOR THE NAVY BLUE ANGELS, who are confirmed, all other NAVY Aviation performances are subject to final Navco / Navy Week confirmation. All military acts are confirmed, unless stated otherwise. Please visit this website often for updates. The Air and Water Show will go on rain or shine. Gates will open regardless of the weather. However, some acts may not perform if weather conditions do not meet minimum safety standards or visibility requirements. All aircraft appearing and times are subject to change due to various reasons beyond our control, including but not limited to: military operational schedules, maintenance, weather, low ceilings, below-minimum visibility, or any other factor as determined by the promoter. We appreciate your understanding.

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The WaterStone Bank Air & Water Show is proud to host the FIVE-YEAR RETURN of the 2024 USAF Thunderbirds Squadron! The Thunderbirds’ mission is to plan and present precision aerial maneuvers to exhibit the capabilities of modern, high-performance aircraft and the high degree of professional skill required to operate those aircraft. The Thunderbirds Squadron is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots (including six demonstration pilots, support officers, civilians, and more than 100 enlisted personnel). The Thunderbirds’ air demonstration is a mix of formation flying and solo routines. The four-jet diamond formation demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the lead and opposing solo aircraft highlight some of the maximum capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The pilots perform approximately 40 maneuvers in a demonstration. Through selfless dedication, a desire to excel, and a constant commitment to improvement, these leaders have channeled their efforts into making the Thunderbirds what they are today. More than 120 enlisted personnel, representing nearly 30 career fields, form the backbone of the Thunderbirds.

The WaterStone Bank Air & Water Show is proud to host the SIX-YEAR RETURN of the renowned Army Golden Knights Parachute Team! What started in 1959 as a small team competing against the former Soviet Union’s skydivers is now an international icon representing the Army’s success. The U.S. Army team began representing the United States on the international competition circuit and performed their first demonstration in Danville, Virginia. By 1962, the team earned the nickname “Golden Knights.” “Golden” signified the gold medals the team had earned, while “Knights” alluded to the team’s ambition to conquer the skies. Since then, the Golden Knights have conducted more than 16,000 shows in 50 states and 48 countries, reaching an average of 60,000 people per show. The team has earned the U.S. Army 2,148 gold, 1,117 silver, and 693 bronze medals in national and international competitions. Team members have also broken 348 world records. The Golden Knights are one of only three Department of Defense-sanctioned aerial demonstration teams, along with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The team is composed of approximately 95 men and women, which includes four parachute units, an aviation unit, and a headquarters. The demonstration teams, which use five dedicated aircraft, perform at more than 100 events per year. CREED: “Under a canopy of black and gold I fly the colors of the Army. I volunteered to become an ambassador of my service and I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, high standards, and esprit de corps of the United States Army Parachute Team.”

The WaterStone Bank Air & Water Show welcomes Marine Corps aviation’s brand-new F-35 tach Demo Team! Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron VMFAT-501 is a USMC training squadron consisting of F-35B Lightning II aircraft. Known as the “Warlords”, the squadron is based at MCAS Beaufort in South Carolina, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. The squadron assumed the lineage of VMFA-451 which was originally known as the “Blue Devils” and saw action during World War II and Operation Desert Storm. VMF-451 was activated on February 15, 1944, at the Marine Corps Air Station Mojave, CA. The “Blue Devils” were one of 32 squadrons that trained at the base and were collectively known as the “Mojave Marines”. Equipped with the Chance-Vought F4U-1D Corsair, they spent nearly a year training for carrier-based operations. The squadron moved on board the USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) on January 24, 1945, along with VF-84 and VMF-221. This was the first fast-carrier deployment with three Corsair squadrons. They flew their first combat sorties on February 16 against targets near Tokyo. On April 3, the “Blue Devils” had a field day in knocking down 11 Japanese planes, and on April 12 they brought down 16 kamikazes. They earned a Presidential Unit Citation for their efforts in the Japan. In 1976, the Warlords remained in the far east until February 1, 1963, when they were ordered back to MCAS Beaufort, SC. In 1984, VMFA-451 set a safety record of 29,000 accident-free hours in the Phantom. After 21 years in the venerable F-4 “Rhino”, the “Warlords” exchanged their F-4S Phantom’s for the F/A-18 Hornet in September 1987. VMFA-451 learned it was the recipient of the 1988 Hanson award as the outstanding Marine fighter-attack squadron, as they surpassed 40,000 accident-free hours. On August 23, 1990, VMFA-451 deployed to Bahrain in support of Operation Desert Shield. At 0300 on January 17, 1991, the “Warlords” became the first Marine unit to attack Iraqi forces in Operation Desert Storm. The “Warlords” ended the operation with 770 combat sorties and 1,400 combat hours. They returned to MCAS Beaufort with all aircraft and personnel. The squadron now flies the F-35B Lightning II – 5th Generation Fighter aircraft and serves as the Fleet Replacement Squadron.

The U.S. Navy’s TAC-DEMO teams from VFA-106 and VFA-122 are the U.S. Navy’s Legacy Flight teammates. These talented active-duty aviators fly the dynamic Super Hornet tactical demonstrations that precede our Navy Legacy flights. Strike Fighter Squadron 122 (VFA-122), also known as the “Flying Eagles”, are the West Coast team, and Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA-106), also known as the “Gladiators”, are the East Coast team. Also joining the Legacy Flight program is the Carrier Variant F-35C Lightning II. Starting in 2022, all types of the U.S. Navy training aircraft will also be doing static demonstrations at airshows and performing Legacy Flights with the fighters and legacy warbird aircraft. The Navy approves a select group of civilian pilots to fly their warbirds in formation with the TAC-DEMO and F-35C aircraft. Intensive training and preparation are the focus of a week-long mission each spring to prepare the pilots for safe and enjoyable demonstrations all over the U.S. The F-18 Rhino Demo Team flies the F/A-18F Super Hornet in a 15-minute demonstration of the Navy’s workhorse carrier based fighter. The Super Hornet is unofficially known as “Rhino” in operational use. This name was chosen to distinguish the newer variants from the legacy F-18A/B/C/D Hornet and avoid confusion during carrier deck operations.

The WaterStone Bank Air & Water Show is proud to host for the first time, in the history of the City of Milwaukee, the Italian Air Force Aerobatic Team! With ten aircraft, nine in close formation and a soloist, they are the world’s largest acrobatics team. The Frecce Tricolori (Italian: [ˈfrettʃe trikoˈloːri]; lit. ’Tricolor Arrows’), officially known as the 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico, Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (PAN) Frecce Tricolori – 313th Acrobatic Training Group, National Aerobatic, is based at the Rivolto Air Base in Italy. It was created on March 1, 1961, as a permanent group for the training of Air Force pilots in air acrobatics. The team flies the Aermacchi MB-339-A/PAN, a two-seat fighter-trainer aircraft, and their flight schedule, comprising about twenty acrobatics and about half an hour, makes them the most famous in the world. It is one of national symbols of Italy. The team was formed as the 51st Fighter Wing, equipped with the US P-51D Mustang and British Spitfire Mk.IX aircraft. The Frecce Tricolori have three programs for performing acrobatics: high, low, and flat, depending on the weather conditions. The high program is chosen when the cloud base is above 1,000 meters and is characterized by the execution of the acrobatic figures entirely on the vertical plane; the low program is preferred instead when the clouds do not exceed 500 – 600 meters and vertical maneuvers are not carried out (such as looping or the bomb); finally, the flat variant includes low-level formation maneuvers. Only the best pilots have access to the Frecce Tricolori: each year, one or two of them are chosen strictly among those who have more than 1,000 flight hours, and once they have entered, must follow a gradual insertion training program.

The WaterStone Bank Air & Water Show welcomes the U.S. Navy’s Legacy Flight Formation act for only the second time at Milwaukee’s lakefront! The Navy Legacy Flight Foundation program matches today’s frontline military fighters with their predecessors in close flight maneuvers at air shows nationwide. F/A-18F “Rhino” fighters, F/A-18G “Growler” Electronic Countermeasure aircraft, and F-35C Lightning II fly on the wings of World War II, Korean, and Vietnam-era fighters in an amazing tribute to Naval Aviators both past and present. Milwaukee’s lakefront will once again be a proud testament to our nation’s current and veteran aviators.
For the first time in Milwaukee, The WaterStone Bank Air & Water Show welcomes The USAF C-17 East Coast Demonstration Team, from Charleston AFB, SC. The team’s main mission is to showcase the capabilities of the C-17 Globemaster III. When going to air shows, the team is the ambassador for the Air Force by interacting with air show fans and meeting community leaders. The demo team flies three different profiles ranging from 6 – 12 minutes. An air show profile is not much different from what C-17 pilots perform during real-world missions around the world. However, an air show demands that the demo team take its flying to the next level with precision and speed in putting on a proper demonstration for crowds; although the profile is not much different from an operational mission, it is very fast paced. A C-17 demo team is made up of a four-person team. Being a member of the demo team requires a high level of experience in the C-17, meeting training requirements, and senior leadership approval. Veteran pilots who have been instructors, evaluators, or aircraft commanders are selected.

The WaterStone Bank Air & Water Show welcomes the 115th Fighter Wing as an official performer in 2024! This will be a chance everyone to see the 115th Fighter Wing perform in the new F-35 Lightning 5th Generation aircraft. The 115th Fighter Wing has now completed their transition from the F-16. The Wisconsin Air National Guardsmen will ensure that the Wing is trained and fully prepared for the arrival of a 5th Generation fighter. The mission of the 115th is to deliver dominant combat airpower and provide agile support for domestic operations. To achieve that mission, the Wing’s vision is to be the Air Force’s premier fighter Wing. The Wing is commanded by the United States Air Force Air Combat Command. As an Air National Guard unit, it is normally under the command of the Governor of the State of Wisconsin, but it has a federal role as well. Currently, the Wing has personnel and/or aircraft assigned to Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Jump Start—and it regularly serves with the Air Expeditionary Force in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Milwaukee’s favorite Hometown Air Force aerial performer! Based at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Airport, the 128th Air Refueling Wing’s principal mission is air refueling. The wing enhances the Air Force’s capability to accomplish its primary missions of Global Reach and Global Power. It also provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft as well as aircraft of allied nations. The wing is also capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients using patient support pallets during aeromedical evacuations.

KC-135 | MKE Air & Water Show
KC-135 | MKE Air & Water Show

The Waterstone Bank Milwaukee Air & Water Show welcome back U.S. Amy Aviation AH-64E Apache helicopters from Fort Campbell Army Airfield to perform an Over-The-Water Hover Demo! Fort Campbell Army Airfield currently houses UH-60M, CH-47F, and AH-64E helicopters belonging to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, and MH-60M, MH-60M DAP, MH-47G, and MH-6/AH-6M helicopters of 1st Battalion, 2d Battalion, and Special Operations Aviation Training Battalion of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). Located astride the Kentucky–Tennessee border between Hopkinsville, Kentucky and Clarksville, Tennessee, Fort Campbell is home to the 101st Airborne Division and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

The Milwaukee Air & Water Show has consistently invited the USAF B-2, B-1-B, and B-52 aircraft squadrons to perform including invitations from previous years, dating as far back as from 2014 – 2022, and in 2023. Due to operational and other unknown circumstances, we have been unable to confirm these aircraft to perform. We will keep you posted on final confirmation from these squadrons.

U.S. AIR FORCE: B-2 Spirit / USAF B-1B Lancer / USAF B-52 Stratofortress
U.S. AIR FORCE: B-2 Spirit / USAF B-1B Lancer / USAF B-52 Stratofortress
U.S. AIR FORCE: B-2 Spirit / USAF B-1B Lancer / USAF B-52 Stratofortress

The Air & Water Show welcomes back USCG Air Station Traverse City! Always a crowd favorite, and appearing every year since 2009, Air Station TVC will show off its SAR capable Sikorsky MH-60T Jayhawk—a multi-mission, twin-engine, medium-range helicopter operated for search and rescue, law enforcement, military readiness and marine environmental protection missions. It was originally designated an HH-60J before being upgraded and redesignated beginning in 2007. Chosen to replace the HH-3F Pelican, the MH-60T is a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family of helicopters and is based on the United States Navy’s SH-60 Seahawk helicopter. A total of 42 MH-60Ts are in service with the U.S. Coast Guard.

MH-60T | MKE Air & Water Show
USCG TVC Logo | MKE Air & Water Show
MH-60T | MKE Air & Water Show

The Michigan Air Guard team are now confirmed to return for 2024! Michigan Air National Guard’s A-10 Warthogs are from Selfridge ANG base, Michigan. The A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twin-turbofan, straight-wing, subsonic attack aircraft developed by Fairchild Republic for the United States Air Force (USAF). In service since 1976, this aircraft is named for the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, a World War II-era fighter-bomber effective at attacking ground targets and commonly referred to as the “Warthog”. The A-10 was designed to provide close air support to friendly ground troops by attacking armored vehicles, tanks, and other enemy ground forces. The A-10 was also intended to improve the performance and firepower of the Douglas A-1 Skyraider. The airframe was designed for durability, with 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems. The plane’s ability to take off and land from relatively short runways allows it to operate from airstrips close to the front lines, and its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities. The U.S. Air Force had stated the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II would replace the A-10, but this remains highly contentious within the USAF and in political circles. With a variety of upgrades and wing replacements, the A-10’s service life could extend to 2040; the service has no planned retirement date as of June 2022.

HC-144 Cape Cod Logo | MKE Air & Water Show
HC-144 | MKE Air & Water Show

Picture Perfect Performance! For the first time in the history of the Milwaukee Air & Water Show, you will hear the thunder and feel the power of the T-28 Trojan vintage warbirds—featuring Waukesha native and long-time aviator Paul Walter! Paul has flown in and supported hundreds of veteran, patriotic, and special events, doing fly-overs and performances over many years across the U.S. Long before they can be seen, the thundering roar of T-28 radial engines will announce the arrival of Trojan Thunder! Trojan Thunder brings pride in country and patriotism to every air show and event as the team of T-28 Trojans fly overhead with a backdrop of noise from the nine-cylinder Curtiss-Wright engines. Trojan Thunder pilots expertly fly in aerial formations and perform aerobatic maneuvers with military precision amidst rolling clouds of smoke! The North American Aviation T-28 Trojan is a radial-engined military trainer aircraft used by the United States Air Force and United States Navy beginning in the 1950s. Besides its use as a trainer, the T-28 was successfully employed as a counter-insurgency aircraft, primarily during the Vietnam War. It has continued in civilian use as an aerobatics and Warbird performer.

Trojan Thunder | MKE Air & Water Show
Trojan Thunder Logo | MKE Air & Water Show
Trojan Thunder | MKE Air & Water Show

Rob’s rise to the top started as a young air show fan in his native New England. Earning his pilot’s license while still a teenager, Rob began flying aerobatics almost immediately, all while building valuable flight time and experience as a corporate pilot, commuter pilot, banner tower, flight instructor, ferry pilot, and operating his own aerobatic flight school. Now in his 18th year as a full-time air show pilot, Rob has distinguished himself by blazing a trail of innovation, developing maneuvers never before seen at air shows. “One of my goals is to take aerobatics to the next level,” Rob explains. “I want to push the limits of what can be done.” But while his impact and influence on the air show community is undeniable, his remarkable skills at the controls of his MXS-RH are matched with a humble and approachable demeanor that has forged a unique connection with countless fans all over the world. Rob Holland is one of the premier air show performers and freestyle aerobatic competition pilots in the world today. With more than a quarter of a million Facebook followers alone, Rob Holland Ultimate Airshows has the single largest social media following of any civilian air show performer worldwide.

Accomplishments:

Ten-time, consecutive, U.S. National Aerobatic Champion; Five-time, consecutive, World 4 minute Freestyle Champion; Eleven-time, U.S. 4-minute Freestyle Champion;  2015 World Air Games Freestyle Gold Medalist; 2012 Art Scholl Award for Showmanship Recipient; 2008 World Advanced Aerobatic Champion; Eight-time U.S. Aerobatic Team Member; and 28 Medals in International Competition (14 Gold). In addition, he has won the 2015 World Air Games Freestyle Gold Medal and is the 2008 World Advanced Aerobatic Champion. He has also been the recipient of the Charlie Hillard Trophy four times (in 2013, 2017, 2019, and 2022) and the Eric Müller Trophy in 2019.

Rob Holland | MKE Air & Water Show
Rob Holland | MKE Air & Water Show
Rob Holland | MKE Air & Water Show

The WaterStone Bank Air & Water Show welcomes the Commemorative Air Force – Southern California Wing, who will put on a vintage warbird demonstration, featuring the Grumman F6F Hellcat, U.S. NAVY FIGHTER #27354801-66 N1078, which has been painted in the colors of Cmdr. David McCampbell, USN, Air Group Commander of VF-15 on the USS Essex during WWII. Painted in the 1944 Navy scheme of all-over dark blue with white markings, the big fighter makes a beautiful sight against the white clouds and clear skies. Such sights, common fifty years ago, serve to remind us of the need to keep these magnificent aircraft in the air, as a reminder to all Americans of the accomplishments and sacrifices, for us today, of yesterday’s generation. Performing with the F6F Hellcat will be CAF SoCal Wings – “Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero”, nicknamed the “Zeke.” CAF SoCal’s Zero was delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Group #3. The aircraft was recovered from Babo in New Guinea in 1991, partially restored from several A6M3s in Russia, then brought to the United States for complete restoration. In 1998, the aircraft was re-registered and displayed at the Santa Monica Museum of Flying. Currently, this aircraft has a Pratt & Whitney R1830 engine (compared to the original Sakai engine in the Planes of Fame Museum’s flyable A6M5 Zero). There is, nevertheless, the fact that Japan had a contract with Pratt & Whitney before WWII in which P&W provided engines for fighter planes and other aircraft. It is, therefore, conceivable that some of the planes participating in the Pearl Harbor attack could have been powered by American engines. This Zero is currently one of only five flyable Zeros in the world.

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