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U.S., Japan jets wow crowds during Misawa Air Fest 2016

Attendees take photos of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force aerobatic demonstration during Misawa Air Fest 2016 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sept. 11, 2016. Approximately 80,000 people attended the event and experienced static displays and demonstrations from both the JASDF and U.S. armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Attendees take photos of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force aerobatic demonstration during Misawa Air Fest 2016 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sept. 11, 2016. Approximately 80,000 people attended the event and experienced static displays and demonstrations from both the JASDF and U.S. armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

A local Japanese man looks at a helicopter during the Misawa Air Fest 2016 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sep. 11, 2016. The air show featured more than 20 aircraft on display, 60 vendors, and multiple aerial demostrations throughout the day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

A local Japanese man looks at a helicopter during the Misawa Air Fest 2016 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sep. 11, 2016. The air show featured more than 20 aircraft on display, 60 vendors, and multiple aerial demostrations throughout the day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

A group of Japanese locals take photos of multiple aircraft during Misawa Air Fest 2016 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sept. 11, 2016. More than 80,000 people from across Japan gathered for the air show featuring the Pacific Air Forces' F-16 demonstation team, the Japan Air Self-Defence Force aerial demonstration team Blue Impulse, and multiple other aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

A group of Japanese locals take photos of multiple aircraft during Misawa Air Fest 2016 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sept. 11, 2016. More than 80,000 people from across Japan gathered for the air show featuring the Pacific Air Forces' F-16 demonstation team, the Japan Air Self-Defence Force aerial demonstration team Blue Impulse, and multiple other aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

A child plays with his toy F-15 Strike Eagle during Misawa Air Fest 2016 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sep. 11, 2016. This year marks the 16th Annual Misawa Air Fest which brought together more than 80,000 people from across Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

A child plays with his toy F-15 Strike Eagle during Misawa Air Fest 2016 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sep. 11, 2016. This year marks the 16th Annual Misawa Air Fest which brought together more than 80,000 people from across Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

On an early Sunday morning, the base's Friendship Gate opened ushering thousands of excited Japanese nationals through to make their way to the flightline, Sept. 11, for Misawa Air Fest 2016.

“We wanted to open Misawa Air Base to the public in partnership with our Japan Air Self-Defense Force allies and demonstrate goodwill and build trust with our local community through flying demonstrations, static aircraft displays and positive personal interactions with U.S. and JASDF military members,” said Maj. Michael Handy, Misawa Air Fest 2016 project officer with the 35th Fighter Wing. “It also allowed us to demonstrate the strength of the bond between the United States Air Force and JASDF and showcase our combined capabilities in the Pacific Air Forces’ area of responsibility.”

Approximately 80,000 people attended the air show traveling from all over Japan to enjoy various Japanese and America aerial demonstrations and cultural festival foods.

The event included JASDF flying demonstrations of the Mitsubishi F-15J, Mitsubishi F-2, CH-47 Chinook, U-125 Peace Krypton and a UH-60 Black Hawk.

In addition to the flying acts, bases from across the region setup static displays including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II, C-130 Hercules, C-12 Huron, UH-1N Iroquois, RQ-4 Global Hawk, P-3 Orion, P-8 Poseidon and an E-2C Hawkeye.

“It’s great being able to display [the F-16s] to the children,” said Maj. Richard Smeeding, a pilot with the Pacific Air Forces’ F-16 demonstration team which performed during the air show. “When you get around kids who have never seen the aircraft or pilots who fly them, it’s invigorating to see the looks on their faces. The kids go nuts for [the demonstrations].”

The F-16s were not the only ones to demonstrate their capabilities. JASDF's own aerobatic team, Blue Impulse, also attended “wowing” the crowds with their agility and formation techniques.

“I thought it was great,” said Tabitha Cornelius, unit program manager with the 35th Maintenance Squadron and air show attendee. “I’ve been to air shows in the United States, and [Misawa’s Air Fest] was way above my expectations. I thought it was awesome how we had different parts of cultures present.”

With next year’s air show already in the planning stages, Handy said everyone can look forward to another great Air Fest next year.