By Mark La Ciura
contributing writer 

2022 Aerospace Valley Air Show Open House and Stem Expo


October 29, 2022

Mark La Ciura

The Thunderbird diamond formation at the 2022 Aerospace Valley air show.

I had a fantastic experience at the Aerospace Valley Open House, Air Show & STEM Expo, the first air show at Edwards Air Force Base in over 13 years. I have been around aviation most of my life as a pilot and big aviation fan. So you would think my story would be all about the mighty aircraft I saw in action at Edwards.

But the highlight of this air show experience is the great security troops, pilots, crews and support people at Edwards AFB.

Security was at a very high level but getting on base was easy with many check points as I made my way to building 1414, the media center. This process made me feel very safe and thankful for all of the fantastic security officers keeping everyone safe at the show.

I got VIP treatment working with all the flight crews, pilots and support people. Most especially working with the USAF Thunderbird Team, the pilots and public affairs staff.

I got to be with the Thunderbirds on media day. I talked with the pilots, crew chiefs and was most impressed with their professional attention to all the media.

Another highlight was a teacher from Palmdale/Lancaster, Matthew Winheim, who got a ride in the backseat of a Thunderbird F-16 for a "hometown hero incentive flight." He had a blast.

Winheim first saw the Thunderbirds fly when he was 10 years old. His big brother took him to an air show in the mid-80s. I got to witness the F-16 taxi up and park in front of the media as Winheim got out of the F-16. Maj. Jake Impellizzeri was the pilot for this ride. He serves as the advance pilot and show narrator. Winheim was given this once in a lifetime experience for all his work with kids in the area through the STEM program.

"We pulled 9.3 when we up there," Winheim said. "Incredible."

Over 12,000 students attended Friday's friends and family media day.

This year's theme was, "Breaking Tomorrow's Barriers Today."

Mark La Ciura

Matthew Winhein went flying with Maj. Jake Impellizzeri on a Home Town Hero Incentive Flight.

In my talks with the public affairs crew with the Thunderbirds, it sounds like Mojave Airport will be one of the USAF Thunderbird's winter training sites. This is fantastic news for eastern Kern County.

This year marks the 75th birthday of the United State Air Force and Oct. 14 marks 75 years since the bell X-1 team successfully broke the sound barrier for the first time.

The open house included the largest STEM Expo in the U.S. with over 65 hands-on displays aimed to inspire the next generation. Activities included air rockets, robotic pits and flight simulators.

I have to say the 2022 Aerospace Valley Open House at Edwards AFB was this year's highlight for me and a big success.

For more information on the STEM program go to more information on Edwards AFB go to


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