Published on 21 Jul 2014 | over 3 years ago
Fantastic Air Show by the US Air force F-16 aircraft The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron ("Thunderbirds") is the air demonstration squadron of the United States Air Force (USAF). The Thunderbirds are assigned to the 57th Wing, and are based at Nellis AFB, Nevada.
The squadron tours the United States and much of the world, performing aerobatic formation and solo flying in specially marked aircraft. The name is taken from the legendary creature that appears in the mythology of several indigenous North American cultures.
On 1 March 2013, the USAF announced that due to budget cuts, aerial demonstration team performances would cease indefinitely, effective 1 April 2013. On 6 December 2013 the Thunderbirds announced their 2014 schedule and the resumption of their appearances.
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, its origins dating to the organization of the 30th Aero Squadron, formed at Kelly Field, Texas on 13 June 1917. 
Officers serve a two-year assignment with the squadron, while enlisted personnel serve three to four years. As the squadron performs no more than 88 air demonstrations each year, replacements must be trained for about half of the team each year, in order to provide a constant mix of experience. In addition to their air demonstration responsibilities, the Thunderbirds are part of the USAF combat force and if required, can be rapidly integrated into an operational fighter unit. Since 15 February 1974 the Thunderbirds have been a component of the 57th Wing at Nellis AFB. Since 1953, they have flown in front of more than 300 million people.
From the end of the runway the 4-ship Thunderbird team get ready to begin their take-off roll with the words "Thunderbirds, let's run em up!" being retransmitted from the team leader's mic through the PA system for the crowd to hear.
Diamond: Historically, as Thunderbirds 1 through 4 lift off, the slot aircraft slips immediately into position behind 1 to create the signature Diamond formation. Thanks to the 2009 upgrade to the Block 52, the Diamond now has more than enough thrust to continue to climb straight up into their first maneuver, the Diamond Loop.
Solos: Thunderbird 5 takes to the air next performing a clean low altitude aileron roll followed by 6 who performs a split S climbing in a near vertical maneuver rolling over and diving back toward show center pulling up just above the runway and exiting in the opposite direction.
Much of the Thunderbirds' display alternates between maneuvers performed by the diamond, and those performed by the solos. They have a total of 8 different formations: The Diamond, Delta, Stinger, Arrowhead, Line-Abreast, Trail, Echelon and the Five Card. The arrowhead performs maneuvers in tight formation as close as 18 inches Fuselage to Canopy separation. They perform formation loops and rolls or transitions from one formation to another. All maneuvers done at speeds of 450-500+ mph.
The opposing solos usually perform their maneuvers just under the speed of sound (500--700 mph), and show off the capabilities of their individual F-16s by doing maneuvers such as fast passes, slow passes, fast rolls, slow rolls, and very tight turns. Some of their maneuvers include both solo F-16s at once, such as opposing passes (passing in close proximity to each other) and mirror formations (their two F-16s being flown back-to-back in the calypso pass or belly-to-belly. In mirror formations, one Thunderbird must be inverted, and it is always Thunderbird number 5. In fact, the "5" on this aircraft is painted on upside down, and thus appears right-side-up for much of the routine). There is also an extra amount of humor regarding the inverted performance of Thunderbird Five: the pilots all wear tailored flight suits with their name and jet number embroidered on the left breast. The 5 is sewn inverted.
Nearing the end the Diamond pulls straight up into the vertical to perform the signature "Bomb Burst," where all 4 aircraft break off in separate directions while a solo goes straight up through the maneuver and performs aileron rolls until 3 miles above the ground. At the end of the routine, all six aircraft join in formation, forming the Delta.
One of the Thunderbirds' standing engagements is the annual commencement ceremony at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The jets fly over Falcon Stadium at the precise moment the cadets throw their hats into the air at ceremony's end.
On 19 September 1985, the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron was consolidated by Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) with the 30th Bombardment Squadron, a unit which was organized on 13 June 1917.
During its operational history, the 30th served in World War I as a training unit in France, its mission to train fighter pilots to go into combat on the Western Front.
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