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Ellsworth Air Show FAQs

Question: Will motorcycle riders have to wear safety gear?
Answer: Yes. All motorcycle riders will be required to wear a helmet, eye protection, sturdy footwear, full length pants, gloves, long sleeve shirt and a brightly colored vest or jacket to be allowed access onto Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Q: I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Can I carry my weapon on base, or can I bring it and leave it in my car? 
A: No. Firearms are not allowed on the installation. Ellsworth AFB does not allow the carrying of any firearms on the installation. This also means that no weapons can be left inside a vehicle. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Q: Will it be necessary to have hearing protection? 
A: Visitors are encouraged to bring some form of hearing protection. The airshow will have aircraft taking off and landing and perform low-flying maneuvers. People should consider wearing the same hearing protection they would use at any event that is extremely loud.

Q: Is there a designated lost and found area? 
A: Yes, the Lost and Found area is located inside the Pride Hangar.

Q: Can my vehicle be searched when accessing Ellsworth Air Force Base, even if I am not affiliated with the military? 
A: Yes. To maintain and ensure the security of Ellsworth AFB resources and personnel, all vehicles, personnel and items are subject to search upon entry, and for the duration of the visit to the installation. The base security personnel are here for the security and safety of all members and guests while on Ellsworth. The 28th Bomb Wing commander retains the right to authorize searching such personnel, items and/or vehicles while on Ellsworth.

Q: Will Ellsworth Air Force Base be an open base for the airshow? 
A: Yes, however, the "open base" area is designated only for the airshow area, and only for the duration of the airshow. At the conclusion of the airshow, non-base affiliated personnel must exit the installation immediately with no exceptions.

Q: Is there viewing space available for those with special needs? 
A: Yes. The Special Needs Viewing Area will be near the base fire department, just west of the entrance to the north security entry control point. You can visit the Information Booth for directions to the Special Needs Viewing Area.

Q: Can parents bring a stroller, diaper bags, change of clothes, etc., for their children? 
A: Yes. Strollers and wagons will be hand searched at the entrances to the airshow. We encourage you to bring only necessary items in small diaper bags. Please note that everything is subject to search at the entrances to the airshow.

Q: Can I take pictures or get autographs? 
A: Yes. Many of the performers make themselves available for autographs and pictures during the show. You may also take pictures of any of many aircraft on static display.

Q: Is smoking allowed at the airshow? 
A: No. Smoking is not allowed inside the airshow area. Designated smoking areas will be located outside of the airshow area, and can be found on the Dakota Thunder Display map on pages 12 and 13.

Q: Will food and drinks be available? 
A: Yes. Water will available for all visitors free of charge, and visitors will be able to purchase food, beverages and souvenirs at the airshow.

Q: If I bring an RV to the air show, will I be able to camp out on the base on the night of the 15th until the second day of the air show?
A: Outside the hours of the air show, Ellsworth will be resuming normal operations and cannot allow anyone without base access to remain on the installation to ensure security and accountability.

Q: Is there RV parking at the Air Show? 
A: Yes. You will be directed to the designated RV parking area upon your arrival at the gate by Security Forces personnel.
Q: Where can we find information on the air show, schedules and events? 
A: You can locate information here, on the Ellsworth AFB Facebook page, the Dakota Thunder Air Show and Open House page or at

Q: Are civilian aircraft fly-ins being permitted on base this year? 
A: There will be no civilian fly-ins during this year's air show, however, there will be a bus traveling from the Rapid City Regional Airport to the base.

Q: What is the closest airport to the base? 
A: Rapid City Regional Airport. The airport is located roughly 15 minutes south of the installation.

Q: Will there be VIP seats or parking that can be purchased at the air show? 
A: As this is a free event, parking and seating will be on a first come first serve basis. A parking map can be found on the Dakota Thunder Airshow website, app, or page 4 of this program.

Q: How do I access the airshow application? 
A: The free official Dakota Thunder 2015 application can be downloaded through both the Apple app store and Android's Play Store by searching "Dakota Thunder Airshow".