This Houston airshow is one of the best in the country -- and these 5 reasons prove why

Thinking about going to the airshow? You will be after you read this

Photo: Wings Over Houston Airshow/Tora! Tora! Tora!
Photo: Wings Over Houston Airshow/Tora! Tora! Tora!

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This article is sponsored by the Wings Over Houston Airshow.

Start making your arrangements because one of the top airshows in the U.S. returns to Houston later this month, featuring two military jet teams, one of the largest displays of warbirds in the nation, and nearly six hours of flying each day.

There will also be performers, kid zones, plenty of fun food and drink options and vendors for the entire family. Not to mention, a full F-35A demonstration for the first time at Ellington Field.

The 35th annual Wings Over Houston Airshow is set for Oct. 19-20.

Want to know what else you can expect, and all the reasons you'd be crazy not to go? Without further ado ...

All the performers

We could go on and on about the Thunderbirds, also known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron. If you've never seen the Thunderbirds in action, the time is now. The airshow will also feature the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds and the Navy Legacy Flight program. And opening the show will be the 138th Fighter Wing, based at Ellington, which is planning a full afterburner takeoff as the group departs on a training exercise.

Civilian performers include local hero Debby Rihn-Harvey, Embry Riddle's Matt Chapman and legendary Sean D. Tucker, flying with Jessy Panzer.

The display aircraft

Want to see some of the best pilots in the world – flying just for you?

Here's your chance.

The show also boasts one of the largest displays of civilian and military aircraft in North America, with more than 75 planes. Click or tap here to see exactly what you can expect.

The huge variety of attractions

We're talking modern aviation displays, warbird ramp displays, a legends and heroes autograph tent, museum exhibits, aircraft rides, motion simulators and a carnival for the kids. View a full list.

What else could you need?

P47/Lone Star Flight Museum
P47/Lone Star Flight Museum


The Special Show

Maybe you know someone who would love to attend the airshow, but it might be a bit much. Or perhaps you'll just think this is a cool concept -- something that other events should emulate. But we love the idea of the Wings Over Houston Special Show for people who live with physical or mental disabilities.

This year's special show will be held the Friday before Airshow weekend. This show is intended for those who, because of a lifetime physical or mental condition, would otherwise have difficulty attending the Saturday and Sunday shows.

The Special Show is a smaller, two-hour version of the airshow with the performers volunteering their time and their aircraft. There are no military demonstrations, but guests sit in a designated open area -- with a large tent available for those who need to sit in the shade -- and they get to experience some of the best parts of the airshow, in a format that's a bit more conducive to their needs.

Some of the pilots and skydivers typically mingle with the crowd, so it's interactive, fun, and attendees might even snag a photo or an autograph or two.

The purpose behind the show

The event has supported a variety of local and national charities during its 35-year history.

In fact, this is one of Houston's largest nonprofit civic events. Proceeds are used to sponsor the Wings Over Houston Scholarship Program for college students studying for careers in aviation, the Aviation Career Education Summer Academy for high school juniors and seniors interested in aviation, along with Commemorative Air Force aircraft restoration and flying historical programs, the Exchange Club of Sugar Land, Rotary Club and many other nonprofit organizations.

The Airshow is organized as an educational event that provides community entertainment, celebrations of patriotism, military recruiting opportunities and aviation awareness.

What's not to love about that?

Regardless of whether you're dying to check out the vintage World War II aircraft or you're more into the thrills of modern aviation, the airshow is guaranteed to deliver.

Have you ever gone? Tell us about your experiences or memories in the comments below.