December 5, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, "Thunderbirds," has announced its 2007 air show schedule. The team is scheduled to perform more than 68 shows in 21 states and 8 European countries.
A Thunderbird three-ship photographed in their hangar on January 31st, 2004. [Photo by A. Vasquez]
The 2007 schedule is as follows:
- 24 - 25 Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
- 31 Pt. Mugu NBVC, Calif.
- 1 Pt. Mugu, NBVC, Calif.
- 14 - 15 Eglin AFB, Fla.
- 21-22 Barksdale AFB, La.
- 28 - 29 Langley AFB, Va.
- 5 - 6 Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- 12 - 13 McGuire AFB, N.J.
- 19 - 20 Andrews AFB, Md.
- 26 - 27 Wantagh (Jones Beach), N.Y.
- 30 U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. (Invitation Only)
- 2 - 3 Davenport, Iowa
- 9 - 10 Sacramento, Calif.
- 16 - 17 Pittsburgh
- 23 - 24 Galway, Ireland
- 26 Krzesiny AB, Poland
- 28 Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania
- 30 Ankara, Turkey
- 1 Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria
- 4 Aviano AB, Italy
- 7 - 8 Evreux Field, France
- 14 - 15 RAF Fairford, U.K.
- 25 Cheyenne, Wyo.
- 28 - 29 Dayton, Ohio
- 11 - 12 Niagara Falls, N.Y.
- 15 Atlantic City, N.J.
- 18 - 19 Chicago
- 25 - 26 Otis ANGB, Mass.
- 1 - 3 Cleveland
- 8 Minot AFB, N.D.
- 15 Hickam AFB, Hawaii
- 22 - 23 El Paso, Texas
- 29 - 30 Columbus, Ohio
- 6 -7 Pope AFB, N.C.
- 13 - 14 Miramar MCAS, Calif.
- 20 - 21 Moody AFB, Ga.
- 27 - 28 New Orleans
- 3 - 4 NASA Cape Canaveral, Fla.
- 10 - 11 Nellis AFB, Nev.
"The entire team is excited to announce our schedule for 2007," said Lt. Col. Kevin Robbins, Thunderbird No. 1, Commander/Leader. "The Thunderbirds' motto is 'Ambassadors in Blue'… in the truest sense of those words this year we'll be able to bring the message of every hard-working Airman to thousands of people around the world."
The second-year commander says his team is ready to take the Airman's story abroad.
"We are well aware this is a time of conflict for our nation, yet it is important to take the time to display the true nature of our armed forces, both to allies and foes," Lt. Col. Robbins said. "We look forward to illustrating the dedication, commitment and humility our Airmen display in their jobs each day, both at home and overseas."
The Thunderbirds will also commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Air Force throughout their 2007 season.
"We are representing six decades of air dominance this year," Col. Robbins said. "The Air Force and Thunderbirds of today uphold the pride and professionalism that millions of Airmen have displayed for 60 years."
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots (including six demonstration pilots), four support officers, four civilians and about 110 enlisted people performing in more than 29 Air Force specialties.
The 2007 team includes the world's first female jet demonstration pilot, Maj Nicole Malachowski, Thunderbird No. 3, right wing, in her second year, and the Thunderbirds' first female solo pilot, Maj Samantha Weeks, Thunderbird No. 6, opposing solo, in her first season with the team.
The remaining pilots for the 2007 season include: Lt Col Kevin Robbins, Thunderbird No. 1, Commander/Leader; Maj Chris Austin, Thunderbird No. 2, left wing; Maj Scott Poteet, Thunderbird No. 4, slot; and Maj Ed Casey, Thunderbird No. 5, lead solo.
Rounding out the list of officers are: Maj Rob Skelton, Thunderbird No. 7, operations officer; Maj Tad Clark, Thunderbird No. 8, advance pilot/narrator; Dr (Maj) Dan Mirski, Thunderbird No. 9, flight surgeon; Capt Amy Glisson, Thunderbird No. 10, executive officer; Capt Giff Ploetz, Thunderbird No. 11, maintenance officer; and Capt Elizabeth Kreft, Thunderbird No. 12, public affairs officer.
A Thunderbirds' aerial demonstration is a mix of formation flying and solo routines. The pilots perform approximately 40 maneuvers in a demonstration. The entire show, including ground and air, runs about one hour. The air show season lasts from March to November, with the winter months used to train new members.
The team's home base is Nellis AFB, Nevada.