Frequently Asked QUestions

What time do the gates open?
The Sumter and Main Gates will be open to the public between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22. Normal base access for Team Shaw personnel and residents will be available through the 441 Gate.

Is there a fee for admission?

No. Admission and parking are FREE.

Will there be specific parking and seating for the handicapped?
Yes, there will be handicapped parking close to the Air Expo ramp; access to this area will be available only through the Main gGte. A handicapped seating area will be provided near the show line. Visitors must have an official handicap placard hanging from the rear view mirror to access handicap parking.

Can I bring my motorcycle?
Yes you can. There will be a designated parking area for motorcycles. All South Carolina state laws apply while on base; helmets and other personal protective equipment are recommended. 

When will flying begin?
Aircraft will take to the skies at approximately 10 a.m. each day.

Are umbrellas allowed at the air expo?
Small rain umbrellas are fine to bring (the small ones that fit in a purse,) but large golf umbrellas or shade umbrellas are prohibited. 

What attire should I consider?
Dress for the elements. It is recommended to wear sunscreen and sunglasses, take a hat, wear comfortable shoes and clothes. You may do a lot of walking. 

Can I bring lawn chairs?
Yes. Lawn chairs, camp chairs and blankets are allowed. Lounge chairs are not permitted. All items are subject to search. 

I have small children. Can I bring a stroller/diaper bag/change of clothes/etc.?
Yes. Strollers will be hand-searched at the security checkpoint. Please bring only necessary items in a small diaper bag, subject to hand-search at the security checkpoint. Large diaper bags are not permitted. You can return to your vehicle during the show to get extra clothes, restock diaper items, etc. 

Are pets allowed?
Pets are not allowed, with the exception of properly identified service animals.

Can I bring my camera/video camera/cell phone?
Yes. There are no security restrictions on these items. However, large camera bags are not permitted. Bring only necessary camera equipment. A small fanny pack or vest is useful for carrying small lenses. Keep in mind that everything is subject to search. 

Can I bring food?
Yes, however we do not allow glass containers, ice chests or coolers (except small coolers for medical supplies or infant formula purposes,) bags larger than a small purse or fanny pack, backpacks and Camelbaks. All items brought are subject to approval by gate security personnel and are hand-searched at security checkpoint. 

Can I bring in bottled water?

Will there be any food or souvenirs available?
Yes. There will be concessions at the air expo for food, drinks, and souvenirs. 

Can I leave and re-enter the air expo?
Yes. You may leave and re-enter as many times as needed. However, anyone re-entering will have to go through security checkpoints again. 

Is tailgating allowed?

Is smoking allowed?
Yes, but only in designated areas and not on the flightline. 

Are alcoholic beverages allowed?
You can purchase them at the air expo, but you cannot transport them onto base. 

Do I need a military ID?
No. ID isn't required to gain access to the installation. If you are driving on base, the driver must have a valid driver's license. All South Carolina laws still apply. 

Will restroom facilities be easily accessible?
Yes. Portable restrooms will be located throughout the air expo grounds. 

Can I take pictures or get autographs?
Yes. Many of the performers make themselves available for autographs and pictures during the show. 

Will it be necessary to have hearing protection?
Due to the nature of the event, it is highly encouraged you bring hearing protection. There will be a number of aircraft taking off, landing, and performing, which will be extremely loud. 

Which day will the Thunderbirds be performing?
Both. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will perform their amazing demonstrations both days, weather permitting. 

Will there be shade?
There are limited areas of shade available throughout the flightline. You can take a walk through one of our larger static displays to get a break from the sun. 

What happens if it rains?
In the event of rain, some flying demonstrations may be delayed. However, unless the weather poses a serious threat to the safety of the visitors and participants, the show will proceed as scheduled with some modifications. 

What is a static display?
A static display is an aircraft that is on display inside the spectator area. It is not an aircraft that will perform in the show but it will be available for viewing and photo opportunities. 

Can I fly my own plane into Shaw AFB?
No. Only pre-approved static display and performer aircraft are allowed to fly into the base prior to the air expo. 

Will there be a preview day before the air expo?
No. The Thunderbirds may have a practice on Friday, but it will not be open to the general public. 

What type of medical services will be available?
First aid only will be provided such as oral hydration, treatment for minor cuts and bruises, and application of emergency medications (ex. Epi-pens). Medical personnel will stabilize and coordinate transportation to higher level of care for all other injuries or illnesses. 

Who can I call for additional information?
For more information, call the 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office at 803-895-2019, or email at


Prohibited Items

These items will not be allowed at Shaw Air Expo 2016:

  • Bicycles
  • Roller skates/roller blades
  • Skateboards
  • Skate shoes
  • Hoverboards
  • UAV/drones
  • Large golf/shade umbrellas
  • Firearms
  • Knives (including pocket knives and all-purpose tools)
  • Backpacks/Camelbaks
  • Coolers/ice chests
  • Glass containers
  • Large bags
  • Police scanners

The following items are allowed but will be searched:

  • Purses
  • Diaper bags (if accompanying a child)
  • Camera bags
  • Lawn chairs
  • Small wagons

Those with bags/carriers (purses, camera bags, diaper bags, camp chair bags, etc.), please have opened and prepared for inspection upon arrival to the security checkpoint in order to expedite entry.