(Video) Air Force Thunderbirds Wow Crowd Of 205,000
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds showed their amazing at the Luke Days Air Show at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, AZ on Sunday March 16th, 2014.
The 18-minute video teases with footage of the planes taxiing, but rapidly takes off as the jets roar into the sky, wingtip to wingtip, performing the precision aerobatics for which the group is famous.
According to WarbirdsNews.com, 205,000 people attended the event, and despite the unveiling of the base’s new F-35 fighter, the Thunderbirds were Best In Show.
The Air Force Thunderbirds date back to May 25, 1953, and have always been based at Luke AFB in Arizona.
The unit adopted the name “Thunderbirds,” influenced in part by the strong Native American culture and folklore from the southwestern United States where Luke Air Force Base is located.
Seven officers and 22 enlisted were selected for the first demonstration team. Major Dick Catledge, a training squadron commander at Luke AFB, was chosen as the team’s leader. Twins Bill and Buck Pattillo were selected and flew the left and right wing, respectively. The Pattillos, both captains, were ideal choices as both had flown with a demonstration team for the previous three years. For the difficult position of slot, the position sandwiched between both wingmen and behind the leader, Capt. Bob Kanaga was selected. The spare pilot was Capt. Bob McCormick. Like the Pattillo brothers, he also had demonstration team experience. First Lieutenant Aubry Brown served as the maintenance officer for the team. Lieutenant Brown, along with Master Sgt. Earl Young, selected 21 enlisted men to help maintain the team’s aircraft. Captain Bill Brock was the final officer selected for the team. He served as the information officer and team narrator.
From these humble beginnings and this group of men, the Air Force Thunderbird legend was born.
The team flew and maintained the F-84G Thunderjet. The straight-wing configuration of the F-84G was considered well suited for aerobatic and demonstration maneuvers, though the aircraft could not exceed the speed of sound.