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The Oregon International Air Show will run from Friday, Sept. 28, to Sunday, Sept. 30.

COURTESY PHOTO - The Canadian Snowbirds will headline the Oregon International Air Show, which will soar over Hillsboro Sept. 28-30. One of Oregon's most popular events is flying into the Hillsboro Airport next weekend with even more thrilling additions to show off in the air and on the runway.

The 31st annual Oregon International Air Show returns to Hillsboro Friday, Sept. 28 through Sunday, Sept. 30.

The event — the largest civilian air show on the West Coast — draws thousands of spectators from across the region each year. This year will feature plenty of new aircraft and performances as well as many returning favorites.

Headlining this year's show is the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Snowbirds. The flight team will bring its supersonic CF-188 Hornet, the Royal Canadian Air Force's frontline multi-role fighter.

"We are the only U.S. site that has both this year," said Oregon International Air Show President Bill Braack. "They typically don't send both to one air show in the U.S."

This year, the CF-18 is painted in the colors honoring the 60th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

"U.S. Air Force and the Canadian Forces have been enduring partners in NORAD since 1958," the air show said in a statement. "The United States and Canada have partnered together to protect the North American airspace. The command has evolved from its Cold War infancy to face new threats that include intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and terrorism."

Senior staff members from NORAD will attend the air show, Braack said, and a special formation will take place to honor the anniversary of the mutual defense command. To honor the anniversary, aircraft from both nations will fly in formation together, a rare event in itself, Braack said.

The unprecedented four-ship formation will include the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188, the Oregon Air National Guard F-15C, the U.S. Air Force F-16 from Luke Air Force Base and a South Dakota Air National Guard F-16.

A slew of air show favorites will be performing again this year, including the massive C130-J Hercules, the F-15 Eagles of the Oregon Air National Guard and the U.S. Special Operations Para-Commandos parachute team.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II will also make its return this year, after a more than five year hiatus, Braack said.

The air show will be offering airplane rides in a World War II B-25D Mitchell bomber starting Thursday, Sept. 27.

As in previous years, there will be plenty of ground displays, the annual Friday night firework show and aircraft rides offered throughout the weekend. This year however, there will be more military aircraft than has been in almost a decade, Braack said, including big aircraft, fighter aircraft and training aircraft.

"We are thrilled to have that on the ramp for people to look at," he said.

The annual celebration of all things aeronautic has become a staple since the event began at the Hillsboro Airport in 1988. A nonprofit, the air show has donated more than $1.6 million to hundreds of organizations since its inception.

"The flying and all the airplanes that come into town make up a wonderful air show," Braack said, "but the air show is just our charitable tool. It's just the machine that helps us do wonderful things for charity."

In recent years, the organization has pushed to get more youth introduced and involved in its activities, Braack said. Last year, the nonprofit brought roughly 2,700 kids to the show for free. This year, they are anticipating more than 10,000 kids from 25 different youth programs including Royal Family Kids, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys & Girls Club.

"We are super excited," Braack said. "We are excited to introduce a whole lot of kids to the STEM arena focusing around aviation. That's definitely new for us to be able to reach that many youngsters."

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, with the evening show starting at 6 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday's shows begin at noon and end around 5 p.m.

Tickets are $25 to $35 and are available online at oregonairshow.com. Children's tickets are between $5 and $10.

"We couldn't do it without the support of our sponsors. ... Our sponsors and our volunteers are really what make it all possible. "

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