RIAT 2017 - U.S.A.F. THUNDERBIRDS
'Thunderbirds are go.....'
Riat 2017 / 14-16 JULY :
It was 10 years ago that the USAF's Thunderbirds showed there skills at the Royal International Air Tattoo. This year we witnessed again America's "Ambassadors in Blue".
The creation of this Air Force demonstration team goes back towards May 25th, 1953.
It was designated at the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit and activated at Luke air Force Base, Arizona. The unit adapted the name 'Thunderbirds' influenced by the strong Native American culture and folklore from the southwestern United States where Luke Air Force Base is located.
The Thunderbirds are a named USAF squadron, meaning it does not carry a numerical designation. It is also one of the oldest squadrons in the Air Force, with its origins dating back to the organisation of the 30th Aero Squadron, formed at Kelly Field, Texas on 13 June 1917.
The first aircraft used by the Thunderbirds was the 'F-84G THUNDERJET'. The original demonstration comprised a series of formation aerobatics, lasting a total of 15 minutes.
One T-33 SHOOTING STAR was used as narrator's aircraft.
The Thunderjet display aircraft was then replaced by the swept-wing 'F-84F THUNDERSTREAK' in 1955. Support aircraft at that time was a C-119 FLYING BOXCAR.
After only one season in this Thunderstreak, the Thunderbirds became the world's first supersonic aerial demonstration team when it transitioned to the F-100C SUPER SABRE in 1956.
That same year, to simplify logistics and maintenance for the aircraft, the team moved towards NELLIS AFB in NEVADA.
Between 26 April and 9 May 1964 the team performed six shows flying the F-105B THUNDERCHIEF but because of an unfortunate accident the team transitioned back towards the Super Sabre. This type of aircraft remained with the Thunderbirds for nearly 13 years.
In the spring of 1969, the Thunderbirds received the first of the new McDonnell Douglas F-4E PHANTOM. This conversion was the most extensive in the team's history.
In 1974, a spreading fuel crisis inspired a new aircraft for the team, the T-38A TALON.
Five T-38's used the same amount of fuel needed for one F-4 Phantom!
22 June 1982, the first red, white and blue F-16A was assigned to the Thunderbirds and delivered at Nellis AFB becoming the team"s ninth aircraft type.
Since 1992 the Thunderbirds are flying with F-16C.
Owing to the conversion to the new aircraft, there where no offical shows flown in 1982.
The first show with the new F-16 was performed in 1983.
In 1997 the Thunderbirds performed 57 demonstrations for more than 12 million people in the spirit and theme of the air Force's 50th anniversary.
MEET THE TEAM :
related link : https://afthunderbirds.com/site/