There is a chance of Thunder at this year's Field of Flight Airshow & Balloon Festival. The world famous US Air Force Thunderbirds Jet Demonstration Squadron return to Battle Creek following a sequestration hiatus.
Celebrating their 61st Anniversary in 2014, the Thunderbirds will showcase the pride and precision of today’s US Air Force with over 70 performances at several different show sites. The team will proudly perform on behalf of the nearly 700,000 active-duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve & civilian Airmen serving at home and abroad. It’s from that diverse group of Air Force professionals that the Thunderbirds team is formed.
The Thunderbirds were first activated on May 25th, 1953 as the Air Force’s Official Air Demonstration Team. They were designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit and were stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona flying the F-84G Thunderjet. Over the years, the Thunderbirds flew famous US Air Force Aircraft that have gone down in history such as the F-84F Thunderstreak, the F-100C Super Sabre, F-105B Thunderchief, F-100D Super Sabre, F-4E Phantom II, T-38 Talon…and into the Mighty F-16 Fighting Falcon (Block 52 model) that the team flies today.
According to Indian legend, the Thunderbird was a giant eagle (some envisioned a hawk) that was spoken about with great fear & respect. When it took to the skies, the earth trembled from the thunder of its wings and bolts of lightning shot from its eyes. Nothing in nature could challenge the bird of thunder, the story of the Thunderbird was repeated across generations…and today, it is now a legend.
The legend will take to the skies this summer in Battle Creek, Michigan as the thunder (known as the Sound of Freedom) and will represent not only the professionalism of the US Air Force, but the patriotism of our great nation of the United States.
The “thunder” will come from six F-16 Fighting Falcon jets painted in Red, White & Blue colors with the Thunderbird emblem on the bottom. Their show will rock the skies as the Diamond formation (Jets 1-4) perform a series of precision maneuvers, keeping their aircraft just INCHES from each other. This is in concert with the high speed & high G maneuvers performed by the Solos (Jets 5-6). This includes a series of head-on passes & solo maneuvers showcasing the tactical profile of the Block 52 Viper. In the end, all six jets team up and showcase the pinnacle of formation flying, the Delta Formation.