President’s Letter

August 21, 2017
Bill IMG_9494

Do you feel the thunder? It’s now less than a year away. The 2018 Arctic Thunder Open House is scheduled for June 30th and July 1st, several weeks earlier than previous open house events. The Association has been working with the new Director, Major Jeri-Lynn “Moonbeam” Harper, and the Force Support Squadron commander, Lt. Col Joshua Hawkins, for numerous months assisting with the planning of event, and I can’t tell you how exciting the next Arctic Thunder is going to be! The community outreach and support from these two officers, as well as JBER senior leaders, like Col Dietrich, has never been stronger or more enthusiastic.

Already, the Association has solidified a number of outstanding performers to provide to Arctic Thunder, through the generosity of sponsorship donations. These include world renowned headliners, including:

  • Kirby Chambliss and his Team Red Bull Edge 540
  • The Red Bull Jump Team
  • Steve Oliver and the Oregon Aero SkyDancer
  • Greg Colyer and the Acemaker II T-33 jet aircraft

And we are bringing back local favorites, including:

  • Wings of Freedom
  • Commemorative Air Force Alaska Wing
  • Historic aircraft from the Alaska Aviation Museum
  • Super Cub short take-off and landing demonstration

We are also looking to add Bob Carlton and his Subsonix microjet.

Finally, we are engaging Paul and Kimberleigh Gavin for the design of another incredible poster.

For their part, the Air Force will also be bringing several aerobatic performers to Arctic Thunder as well, along with demonstrations by our frontline fighter and airlift aircraft, the ever popular Joint Forces demonstration, and the United States Air Force Thunderbirds jet team. Additionally, the earlier date will likely allow for the participation of allied aircraft that would be part of local exercises.
Our ability to help make Arctic Thunder the top-drawer, quality attraction it has become depends entirely on the support of community sponsors, which totaled well over 40 in number, a record achievement! Our sponsors represent all kinds of businesses and business lines, from all over the Anchorage bowl, as well as some from Fairbanks, and also national and international companies. This year, given the number of performers, we hope to exceed 50 sponsors. I encourage you to speak with your corporate leadership about donating to the Alaska Air Show Association, whether to take advantage of our non-profit tax deduction advantage, or as a shrewd investment of your marketing dollars. Simply (Click here) or on the donate tab to get started.

I would also like to offer a word of thanks to the work of the Association’s Board of Directors and Board Officers, who dedicate a wealth of time to bring to Anchorage and Alaska a world-class, free event that is enjoyed by over 200,000 air show fans.

Mark your calendars for June 30th and July 1st, 2018. It’s Arctic Thunder time!

Best regards,

Bill Kontess
President, Alaska Air Show Association

Gregory W Colyer & Ace Maker II *

sweeping bank2
Gregory “Wired” Colyer took his first flight at age 7 in a Cessna 172 with Dr. Lee Schaller out of the Schellville airport in Sonoma, California. Hooked ever since, Greg has been flying for almost 3 decades after earning his license in 1982 while serving in the US Army from 1982-1987. His passion for the cockpit never left him as he continued to fly as a hobby and an occasional airshow. After flying with his friend Kay Eckhart, in one of his Lockheed T-33s in 2007, Greg set his sights on an upgrade to the U.S. Air Force’s first operational jet and a real piece of U.S. aviation history, acquiring a T-33 and naming it Ace Maker in 2008. Greg holds a Commercial Pilot certificate with instrument, single and multi engine ratings as well as being a Certified Flight Instructor. Type rated in Aero Vodochody’s L-29 Delfin, L-39 Albatros and the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. A level I Aerobatic low level card and FAST lead formation card round out his qualifications.

Lockheed T-33/Canadair CT-33 Specifications:
Engine: Allison J-33/Rolls Royce Nene 10
Power: 5200/5400 lbs thrust
Max Speed: 505 kts/.80M
Ceiling: 45,000 ft
Range: 1350 nm
Length: 37′ 8″
Height: 11′ 8″
Wing Span: 42’5″ w/tip tanks
Max weight: 16,800 lbs
Max Fuel: 677 imp/810 U.S. gallons

AceMaker-2 15163616613 Dd74d84cc3 B E1456069099477 sweeping bank2 T-33 AceMaker

Please visit Greg’s website at for more cool information and videos.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

Making a return appearance from their 2014 performance, the Association is very excited to have the USAF Thunderbirds as the featured jet team for Arctic Thunder 2018

The Thunderbirds are proud to represent Air Force Airmen who make America’s Air Force the most advanced and respected air, space and cyberspace force the world has ever seen. They continually provide consistent and credible Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power, giving a critical edge to today’s joint warfighting and coalition teams. As Air Force ambassadors, the Thunderbird team strives to showcase the integrity, selfless service and excellence embodied by American Airmen everywhere.

The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron plans and presents precision aerial maneuvers to exhibit the capabilities of modern high performance aircraft and the high degree of professional skill to operate those aircraft. As Air Force ambassadors who travel the world over, the Thunderbird team strives to showcase the integrity, selfless service and excellence embodied by American Airmen everywhere.


You can visit their website: