Here are five important things to know before you go to "Thunder & Lightning over Arizona," the 2012 Davis-Monthan Air Force Base open house, this Saturday and Sunday:

1. Get there early

Gates open at 8:30 a.m. both days, with flying demonstrations beginning at 11 a.m. Expect heavy security both when parking on base, and before entering the display areas. The public will not be allowed to enter the base after 2 p.m.

2. Bring a bottle of water

Each person can bring one clear, plastic bottle of water - no camelbacks or metal or glass containers allowed - with them to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. There will be several areas to refill your bottles along the flight line.

3. Expect to walk ... a lot

Unlike previous events at Davis-Monthan, this year's open house does not include shuttle service. Everyone who attends should expect to walk from the parking lot to the display areas.

4. Be prepared for sun or rain

Dress for the weather. If it's hot and sunny, then don't forget the sunscreen and a hat. No umbrellas can be brought to the display areas, so you might want to bring a hooded jacket in case of rain.

5. Seating will be limited

Since no chairs can be brought onto the base, Davis-Monthan is renting seats. A limited amount of bleacher seats will also be available.

What to bring

• A clear plastic water bottle.

• Baby food, formula, milk and water (no glass containers).

• Carts for physically challenged/disabled visitors.

• Diaper bags.

• Strollers.

What to leave home

• Animals. (Service animals allowed only. )

• Any potentially airborne items, including balls, balloons and kites.

• Bicycles, go-carts, scooters, skates and skateboards.

• Backpacks, purses and/or camera bags larger than 18 by 24 inches.

• CamelBaks or other backpack water pouches.

• Chairs and folding chairs.

• Coolers.

• Food, beverages and alcohol from outside the base.

• Military uniforms worn by non-military members.

• Political paraphernalia

• Umbrellas and folding canopies.

• Weapons.

If you go

Thunder and Lightning over Arizona Davis-Monthan Air Force Base 2012 Open House

• When: Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Flying demonstrations start around 11 a.m. and end around 4:30 p.m.

• Where: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

• Parking: Enter through the Craycroft Road gate or Swan Road gate off East Golf Links Road. Last entry is at 2 p.m. Handicap parking available at Craycroft gate only. There is no shuttle service or off-site parking for this year's open house. Plan to walk a long distance from the parking lot to the display areas.

• Cost: Admission is free, but canned food donations for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona will be accepted.

Bring donations for the food bank

Receptacles located near the display areas will be accepting nonperishable items for the food bank, which could use:

• Boxed cereal.

• Canned fruits.

• Canned meats and/or tuna.

• Canned tomato products.

• Canned vegetables..

• Pasta.

• Peanut butter.


Be prepared to undergo security procedures when parking on base and entering the display area. Davis-Monthan personnel have the right to turn anyone away who fails to consent to a search.