The return to regular performances is a pivotal milestone for the Thunderbirds as they recover from their first fatal mishap in 36 years
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds aerobatic team is resuming its demonstration season this weekend after a fatal crash in Nevada one month ago.
Gen. Mike Holmes, Commander of Air Combat Command, gave the green light to resume based on recommendations of leadership from the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, 57th Wing and U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, as well as a careful review of the team’s safety, training and operational practices.
“The Thunderbirds look forward to safely resuming public shows at Air Power over Hampton Roads,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh, Thunderbird 1, Commander/Leader. “It’s been challenging to get us to this point, but the team is resilient, focused and ready to get back to our mission of recruiting, retaining and inspiring.”
The Thunderbirds will transit to JBLE early in the week leading up to the show to provide additional practice time.
The return to regular performances is a pivotal milestone for the Thunderbirds as they recover from their first fatal mishap in 36 years.
“We are extremely grateful for the support, faith and confidence of our senior Air Force leadership as we prepare to showcase our United States Air Force to the public once more,” Walsh said. “As we hit the road, we’ll carry on our wingman’s legacy with pride.”
An investigation remains underway into the cause of the mishap. A report will be made available to the public once complete.
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, performs precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of Air Force high performance aircraft to people throughout the world. The squadron exhibits the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft.
A Thunderbirds air demonstration is a mix of formation flying and solo routines. The four-aircraft diamond formation demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the solo aircraft highlight the maximum capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Photo credit: Charles Ramey / U.S. Air Force
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com