December 8, 2015 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Time to check your agenda after the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds released their official air show schedule in preparation for their upcoming 2016 and 2017 seasons. The announcement comes following the approval by the International Council of Air Shows during their annual convention being held in Las Vegas.
USAF Thunderbirds photographed at the 2012 Quonset Point Air Show held on June 16th, 2012. [Photo by Bob Derouin]
Starting in 2016, the team will move to a two year schedule to reflect the 2016 and 2017 show seasons.
The Thunderbirds will start their season with a flyover of the Daytona 500 raceway on February 21, followed by a flyover of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway two weeks later. After that the squadron zig zag from the western United States to the eastern coastal states during the first two months. The Thunderbirds six F-16C jets will take to the skies over 37 air show locations during a lengthened 2016 season.
The Thunderbirds combine years of training and experience with an attitude of excellence to showcase what the U.S. Air Force is all about.
The sharply choreographed, drill-style ground ceremony kicks off the demonstration by showcasing the attention to detail and esprit de corps that defines their enlisted members. As the jets take to the skies and fly only a few feet from wingtip to wingtip, the crowd gets a glimpse of the awesome skills and capabilities that all fighter pilots must possess. The solo pilots integrate their own loud and proud routine, exhibiting some of the maximum capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon – the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter jet.
2016 Show Season Schedule:
2017 Show Season Schedule:
- Feb. 21: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla. (Flyover)
- March 6: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev. (Flyover)
- March 8: Creech Air Force Base Appreciation Show, Las Vegas, Nev.
- March 12-13: Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz.
- March 19-20: MacDill AFB, Fla.
- April 2-3: Luke AFB, Ariz.
- April 9-10: Lake City, Fla.
- April 16-17: March Air Reserve Base, Calif.
- April 23-24: Langley AFB, Va.
- April 30 – May 1: Barksdale AFB, La.
- May 7-8: Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
- May 14-15: Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
- May 21-22: Shaw AFB, S.C.
- May 28-29: Cannon AFB, N.M.
- June 2: USAF Academy, Colo. (Flyover)
- June 4-5: Kirtland AFB, N.M.
- June 11-12: North Kingstown, R.I.
- June 18-19: Ocean City, Md.
- June 25-26: Hill AFB, Utah
- July 2-4: Battle Creek, Mich.
- July 9-10: Duluth, Minn.
- July 16-17: Toledo, Ohio
- July 23: Vance AFB, Okla.
- July 27: Cheyenne, Wyo.
- July 30-31: Offutt AFB, Neb.
- Aug. 13-14: Burlington, Vt.
- Aug. 17: Atlantic City, N.J.
- Aug. 20-21: Chicago, Ill.
- Aug. 27-28: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
- Sept. 3-4: New Windsor, N.Y.
- Sept. 10-11: Ft. Wayne, Ind.
- Sept. 17-18: Sheppard AFB, Texas
- Sept. 24-25: Salinas, Calif.
- Oct. 1-2: Robins AFB, Ga.
- Oct. 8-9: Daytona Beach, Fla.
- Oct 15-16: Ft. Worth, Texas
- Oct 22-23: Huntington Beach, Calif.
- Oct 29-30: Rome, Ga.
- Nov 5-6: Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla.
- Nov 12-13: Nellis AFB, Nev.
- Feb. 19: Daytona 500, Daytona Beach, Fla. (Flyover)
- March 5: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev. (Flyover)
- March 7: Creech AFB Appreciation Show, Nev.
- March 11-12: Titusville, Fla.
- March 18-19: Waco, Texas
- March 25-26: Lancaster, Calif.
- April 1-2: Melbourne, Fla.
- April 8: Maxwell AFB, Ala.
- April 22-23: Tyndall AFB, Fla.
- April 29-30: Lake Charles, La.
- May 6-7: Travis AFB, Calif.
- May 13-14: Pittsburgh, Pa.
- May 20-21: Tinker ADB, Okla.
- May 27-28: Wantagh (Jones Beach), N.Y.
- June 1: USAF Academy Flyover, Colo.
- June 3-4: Grand Junction, Colo.
- June 10-11: Rockford, Ill.
- June 17-18: Youngstown Air Reserve Base, Ohio
- June 24-25: Dayton, Ohio
- July 1-2: Traverse City, Mich.
- July 8-9: Gary, Ind.
- July 15-16: Open Date
- July 22-23: Great Falls, Mont.
- July 26: Cheyenne, Wyo.vJuly 29-20: Fairchild AFB, Wash.vAug 12-13: Westfield (Barnes Air National Guard Base), Mass.
- Aug 19-20: Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich.
- Aug 23: Atlantic City, N.J.
- Aug 26-27: Dover AFB, Del.
- Sept 2-4: Cleveland, Ohio
- Sept 9-10: Altus AFB, Okla.
- Sept 16-17: Joint Base Andrews, Md.
- Sept 23-24: Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Sept. 30- Oct. 1: Open Date
- Oct. 7-8: Minden, Nev.
- Oct 14-15: Phoenix (Speedway), Ariz.
- Oct 21-22: Houston, Texas
- Oct 28-29: Moody AFB, Ga.
- Nov 4-5: Joint Base San Antonio Lackland-Kelly, Texas
- Nov 11-12: Nellis AFB, Nev.
Courtesy of Nellis AFB
Thunderbird maintenance personal launch jets 1-6 for a training sortie over the Aurora Reservoir out of Buckley AFB. [Photo by Anthony Cornelius]