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The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds practice a maneuver during a 2010 rehearsal in preparation for a weekend air show. File/Sue Ogrocki/AP

Whether the Air Force's top precision performance team will grace Charleston's sky at this weekend's Air and Space Expo remains unknown.

Military officials did not confirm whether the Thunderbirds would appear at Saturday's event — a performance originally announced in late 2016. An announcement by the Air Force about the performance was expected Wednesday but did not arrive by press time.

Earlier this month, the death of Thunderbirds pilot Maj. Stephen Del Bagno left open the question of attendance at the Lowcountry's first military expo since 2011.

The Air Force formed the Thunderbirds in 1953 and the team is based at Nellis, in Nevada. Del Bagno, 34, was killed on when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed over the Nevada Test and Training Range during a routine training flight.

The Thunderbirds immediately canceled a show they had planned that weekend and additional shows during the month of April. Charleston base officials said then that the Air and Space Expo would go forward, with or without the Thunderbirds on the bill. 

"A lot of hard work and dedication from Charleston and community members put together what we believe is one of the finest air shows in the Department of Defense," Joint Base Charleston spokesman Marvin Krause said. "We are honored to provide a close up and personal look at the outstanding men and women of your military and its exceptional capabilities."

Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with aerial shows beginning at 10 a.m. Multiple flying groups and ground displays of aircraft are planned. The event ends at 5 p.m. 

Reach Hannah Alani at 843-937-5428. Follow her on Twitter @HannahAlani.

Hannah Alani is a reporter at The Post and Courier covering race, immigration and rural life across the Palmetto State. Before graduating from Indiana University and moving to Charleston in 2017, her byline appeared in The New York Times.