The release of the United States Air Force Thunderbird’s 2016 schedule includes an appearance at the Toledo Air Show. The event, a joint venture of the community and the 180th Fighter Wing, will take place at the Toledo Express Airport on July 16-17.
“This summer, our community will have the chance to see the pride, professionalism and dedication that our brave servicemen and women display on a daily basis,” said Congressman Bob Latta. “The Thunderbirds are among America’s elite pilots. This is a great opportunity to strengthen the ties between our community, and our Armed Forces.”
The Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s official air demonstration team, have been active since 1953. Since its inception, 325 officers have worn the distinguished emblem of “America’s Ambassadors in Blue” serving for the unit.
A Thunderbirds air demonstration is a mix of formation flying and solo routines. The four-jet diamond formation demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the lead and opposing solo aircraft highlight some of the maximum capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The pilots perform approximately 40 maneuvers in a demonstration. The entire show, including the ground show and air demonstration, lasts about 75 minutes. The season typically starts in March and ends in November, with the winter months used to train new members.
Officers serve a two-year assignment with the squadron, while enlisted personnel serve three to four.
The squadron performs no more than 80 air demonstrations each year and has never canceled a demonstration due to maintenance difficulty. More than 280 million people in all 50 states and 57 foreign countries have seen the red, white and blue Thunderbirds jets in more than 3,500 aerial demonstrations.
Air shows have taken place in Toledo since 1957, and have attracted audiences of up to 75,000 people. The 2016 event is the first since 2004.
“From the Birth of Aviation and the Wright brothers, to Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, Ohio has a long, storied aviation history. I look forward to the opportunity to continue that tradition as the 180th Fighter Wing and Thunderbirds showcase the pride and precision of the United States Air Force.”