USAF Thunderbirds Museum Reopens At Nellis AFB

posted in: Jet Teams, Museums | 0

USAF Thunderbirds Re-Open Museum

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds have re-opened their team museum at their home base of Nellis AFB. The museum helps tell the Thunderbird story, from its beginnings, to today.

Inside the museum, you’ll find artifacts and other memorabilia including documentation on the team’s formation. The picture below shows the designation and order to create the 3600th USAF Air Demonstration Unit at Luke AFB on May 23rd, 1953.

USAF Thunderbirds Re-Open Museum

Other displays include old Thunderbird team gear, patches, and photographs.

USAF Thunderbirds Re-Open Museum

USAF Thunderbirds Re-Open Museum

To access the museum, visitors must have a valid DOD ID card to get onto base property or be escorted by a DOD ID cardholder. The hours of operation are 8 am to 4 pm, and the location is 4445 Tyndall Avenue, Nellis AFB, NV 89191. For the most up-to-date information, call 702-652-6776.

Afterburner, Bare Metal, And Sunset – Watch These F-100 Super Sabre Twilight Flybys!

posted in: Featured Videos, Warbirds | 0

F-100 Super Sabre

North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre

Check out this rare and awesome video of one of the only flying examples left of an F-100 Super Sabre! This video was taken at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh back in 2015 and showcases the power and beauty of the F-100 with a stunning twilight backdrop. Be sure to pay particular attention to the afterburner as this powerful fighter-bomber of the 50’s and 60’s streaks by in pass after pass of polished metal glory. Pilot Dean “Cutter” Cutshall will put the F-100 through its paces, and you have a front-row seat to it all. And for a little bit of background on the F-100, read on about how this iconic aircraft cemented itself in aviation history.

History of the F-100 Super Sabre

In May of 1953, an unusual looking aircraft took to the skies for the first time. Sporting a gaping air intake where the nose would traditionally be located, along with a unique 45 degree swept-back wing design, the prototype F-100 Super Sabre took flight.

Building on the success of the F-86 Sabre jet, the North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre was designed to be an air superiority fighter, and the first production fighter to be able to break the sound barrier while in level flight. The first of the so-called Century Series fighters, the Super Sabre carried four 20mm cannons on the bottom of the fuselage and a Pratt and Whitney J57 engine that propelled it to a maximum speed of about 850 mph. Later versions would receive an updated version of the J57 engine that would propel the “Hun”, as it was called, to a maximum speed of approximately 880 mph. With the exception of a handful of shows flown in the F-105 Thunderchief in 1964, the Super Sabre was the aircraft of choice for the USAF Thunderbirds from 1956 to 1969.

Though the Super Sabre was designed as an air superiority fighter, its ability as a tactical bomber became apparent, especially during the Vietnam war. Trading in the colorful and high-visibility silver lacquer paint schemes of the 1950’s, the Super Sabre began wearing the green and brown paint of the Southeast Asian conflict in its new role. The F-100D, the most produced variant of the Hun, became an adept ground attack aircraft platform and saved many friendly troops in direct action sorties by dropping a variety of ordnance from general purpose bombs, to rockets, to napalm. By the end of the Vietnam war, the F-100 had become the longest-serving fighter of any type, serving from 1961 to 1971. The Super Sabre was also the first aircraft to carry out the dangerous “Wild Weasel” surface-to-air missile suppression missions. Due to the heightened tensions of the Cold War, the F-100 could even pack a wallop with the capability of carrying five different types of tactical nuclear bombs.

With aircraft technology advancing rapidly in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the F-100 Super Sabres eventually became obsolete and were retired or transferred off to Air National Guard units. Some were even exported to other nations. The Hun was officially retired in 1979, but continued to serve proudly into the 1980’s as QF-100 drones. Despite being replaced by more technologically advanced aircraft in the 1970’s, you can see why the North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre was one of the most powerful and capable fighter-bombers in history.

Once again, be sure to check out the video, turn up the volume, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the F-100 Super Sabre. You won’t be disappointed!

– Justin Miner

F-100 Super SabreF-100 Super Sabre Nose

Rockford AirFest Suspended In 2017 And Beyond Despite Scheduled USAF Thunderbirds Appearance

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Schedules | 1

US Air Force Thunderbirds - Rockford AirFest

Say goodbye to the Rockford AirFest. The event has been canceled in 2017 and beyond, thanks to new tenants at the airport. The move is surprising as the show had already landed a coveted appearance by the US Air Force Thunderbirds on June 3rd and 4th of next year. Mike Dunn, the Airport’s Executive Director, says that the airport has gotten too busy to shut down operations for the show weekend.

The show had faced troubles recently, and was canceled in 2016 after scheduling conflicts with the US Air Force F-22 Raptor demonstration team that was the headline the event. Two different US Navy Blue Angel appearances were also canceled in recent years, but it nevertheless remained a popular attraction since its start in 2005. Rockford did not appear on either the Blue Angel or Thunderbirds preliminary schedules for 2018, but may have landed the F-22 Raptor demonstration.

With Rockford throwing in the towel, that weekend will now open up for the Thunderbirds. The airshow in Duluth, MN will already host the Blue Angels and Canadian Forces Snowbirds on those same dates, and may make a play for the rare privilege of hosting all three North American jet teams. More likely, another show currently without a jet team will land the Thunderbirds by changing dates. Be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow our social media channels for further updates when they are available!

Air Force Announces Report Findings On 2016 Thunderbird #6 Crash – Pilot Cleared

posted in: Jet Teams | 0

US Air Force Thunderbirds

The US Air Force says that the crash of Thunderbird #6 into a Colorado field earlier this year was caused by a throttle malfunction. The finding was part of the Accident Investigation Board report on the incident, announced today by Air Combat Command. The crash occurred shortly after a flyby of the United States Air Force Academy graduation ceremony in Colorado Springs, CO on June 2nd.

Although speculation has been rampant that the F-16 Fighting Falcon ran out of fuel, ACC has stated that hundreds of pounds of fuel were removed from the wreckage. Instead, the investigation found that an issue with the throttle incorrectly caused the pilot, Major Alex Turner, to shut the engine off rather than setting it to idle power as intended. He was unable to restart the engine due to his low altitude and ejected safely after steering toward an empty field.

According to ACC, “after beginning landing procedures, the pilot inadvertently rotated the throttle, placing it into an engine cut-off position. Normally, this full rotation cannot occur unless a throttle trigger is affirmatively actuated or pressed. However, the throttle trigger was “stuck” in the “pressed” position. The accident investigation board observed debris accumulation in the throttle trigger, combined with wear on the trigger assembly.

Once the engine cut-off occurred, the aircraft immediately lost thrust. The pilot attempted engine restart procedures, but restart was impossible at the low altitude of the aircraft. The pilot safely delayed his ejection until he navigated the aircraft to a grass field.

The aircraft, valued at approximately $29 million, was destroyed. There was no known damage to civilian property. At the time of the accident, the pilot was a current and qualified air demonstration pilot, with more than 1,200 hours flying the F-16 and a total flight time of 1,447 hours. He resumed demonstrations with the team.”

The Thunderbirds were grounded for a little over two weeks following the crash. They returned to aerial demonstrations at the airshow in Ocean City, MD and successfully completed the remainder of their 2016 show season.

This crash was somewhat overshadowed by the fact that Blue Angel #6, Marine Captain Jeff Kuss, was killed when his aircraft crashed the same afternoon in Smyrna, TN. That crash was a separate and unrelated accident, and a report on it was released in September.

US Air Force Thunderbirds To Perform At RIAT In 2017

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Schedules | 0

US Air Force Thunderbirds

The US Air Force Thunderbirds will be heading overseas this summer. The Royal International Air Tattoo announced that it will host the team at RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom on July 14, 15, and 16. This is not surprising, since the dates were left conspicuously open on the 2017 USAF Thunderbirds schedule, released earlier this week. The RIAT dates are book-ended by US airshow appearances, so the team will likely only be performing at the single event rather than conducting a multi-stop European tour. The announcement does mention that it will be the team’s only UK appearance of 2017.

The RIAT appearance is fitting this year, as the event is honoring the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force. The Thunderbirds previously performed in Europe as recently as 2011.

USAF Thunderbirds 2017/2018 Airshow Schedule Released

US Air Force Thunderbirds

Here is the 2017/2018 airshow schedule for the United States Air Force Thunderbirds! Will you see them in 2017? Let us know! Post on the AirshowStuff Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!

2017 Appearance Schedule – USAF Thunderbirds
Updated 2/18/17 – Latest updates in bold.

February 5: Houston, Texas – Super Bowl LI Flyover
February 26: Daytona Beach, Florida – Daytona 500 Flyover

March 11-12: Titusville, Florida – “TICO Warbird Air Show”
March 18-19: Waco, Texas – “Heart of Texas Air Show”
March 25-26: Lancaster, California – “Los Angeles Air Show”

April 1-2: Melbourne, Florida – “Melbourne Air & Space Show”
April 8: Maxwell AFB, Alabama – “Maxwell AFB Gathering of Eagles”
April 22-23: Tyndall AFB, Florida – “Gulf Coast Salute”
April 29-30: Lake Charles, Louisiana – “Chennault International Air Show”

May 6-7: Travis AFB, California – “Travis AFB Open House”
May 13-14: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – “Wings Over Pittsburgh”
May 20-21: Tinker AFB, Oklahoma – “Star Spangled Salute Air Show”
May 24: USAF Academy, Colorado
May 27-28: Wantagh, New York – “Bethpage New York Air Show”

June 3-4: Rockford, Illinois – “Rockford Air Show” (Canceled – date now open)
June 10-11: Scott AFB, Illinois – “Scott AFB Air Show & Open House”
June 17-18: Youngstown ANG, Ohio – “Thunder Over the Valley Air Show”
June 24-25: Dayton, Ohio – “Vectren Dayton Air Show”

July 1-2: Traverse City, Michigan – “National Cherry Festival Airshow”
July 8-9: Gary, Indiana – “Gary Air Show”
July 14-16: RAF Fairford, UK – “Royal International Air Tattoo”
July 22-23: Great Falls, Montana – “Flight Over the Falls”
July 26: Cheyenne, Wyoming – “Frontier Days Air Show”
July 29-30: Fairchild AFB, Washington – “Inland Northwest Skyfest”

August 12-13: Westfield ANGB, Massachusetts – “Westfield Air Show”
August 19-20: Selfridge ANGB, Michigan – “Selfridge ANGB Air Show/Open House”
August 23: Atlantic City, New Jersey – “Thunder Over the Boardwalk”
August 26-27: Dover AFB, Deleware – “Dover AFB Open House/Air Show”

September 2-4: Cleveland, Ohio – “Cleveland National Air Show”
September 9-10: Altus AFB, Oklahoma – “Altus AFB Air Show”
September 16-17: JB Andrews, Maryland – “JB Andrews Air Show”
September 23-24: Colorado Springs, Colorado – “Pikes Peak Regional Airshow”
September 30-Oct 1: Grand Junction, Colorado – “Grand Junction Air Show”

October 7-8: Minden, Nevada – “Minden-Tahoe Air Show”
October 14-15: Boise, Idaho – “Gowen Thunder Airshow”
October 21-22: Houston, Texas – “Wings Over Houston Air Show”
October 28-29: Moody AFB, Georgia – “Moody AFB Community Appreciation Day”

November 4-5: JB Lackland-Kelly, Texas – “JB Lackland-Kelly AFB”
November 11-12: Nellis AFB, Nevada – “Aviation Nation Open House”

2018 Appearance Schedule – USAF Thunderbirds

February 25: Daytona Beach, Florida – Daytona 500 Flyover

March 10-11: Open
March 17-18: Melbourne, Florida – “Melbourne Air & Space Show”
March 24-25: Dobbins ARB, Georgia – “Dobbins Air Reserve Base”

April 7-8: March ARB, California – “March Field Airfest”
April 14-15: Lakeland, Florida – “Sun-N-Fun Fly-In Expo”
April 21-22: Columbus AFB, Mississippi – “Wings over Columbus”
April 28: JB Charleston, South Carolina – “Joint Base Charleston Air Show”

May 5-6: Fort Lauderdale, Florida – “Fort Lauderdale Air Show”
May 12-13: Laughlin AFB, Texas – “Laughlin AFB Open House
May 19-20: Langley AFB, Virginia – “Airpower Over Hampton Roads”
May 26-27: Cannon AFB, New Mexico – “Cannon AFB Air Show Air Commandos on the High Plains”
May 31: USAF Academy, Colorado

June 2-3: Mountain Home AFB, Idaho – “Gunfighter Skies”
June 9-10: Niagara Falls, New York – “Thunder Over Niagara Military Air Show”
June 16-17: Ocean City, Maryland – “OC Air Show”
June 23-24: Hill AFB, Utah – “Warriors Over the Wasatch”
June 30-1 July: JB Elmendorf, Alaska – “Arctic Thunder Open House”

July 7-8: Duluth, Minnesota – “Duluth Air Show”
July 14-15: Westover ARB, Massachusetts – “Great New England Air Show and Open House”
July 21-22: Milwaukee, Wisconsin – “Milwaukee Air & Water Show”
July 25: Cheyenne, Wyoming – “Frontier Days Air Show”
July 28-29: Latrobe, Pennsylvania – “Westmoreland County Air Show”

August 4: Minot AFB, North Dakota – “Minot AFB”
August 18-19: Chicago, Illinois – “60th Annual Chicago Air & Water Show”
August 22: Atlantic City, New Jersey – “Thunder Over the Boardwalk”
August 25-26: Ypsilanti, Michigan – “Thunder Over Michigan Air Show”

September 1-3: Toronto, Canada – “Canadian International Air Show”
September 8-9: McConnell AFB, Kansas – “McConnell Open House”
September 12: Reno, Nevada – “National Championship Air Races”
September 15-16: Mather, California – “California Capital Air Show”
September 22-23: New Windsor, New York – “New York Air Show”
September 29-30: Salinas, California – “California International Airshow”

October 6-7: Baltimore, Maryland – “Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore”
October 13-14: Fort Worth, Texas – “Fort Worth Alliance Air Show”
October 20-21: Huntington Beach, California – “Huntington Beach”
October 27-28: Little Rock AFB, Arkansas – “Little Rock AFB”

November 3-4: Homestead ARB, Florida – “Wings Over Homestead ARB”
November 10-11: Nellis AFB, Nevada – “Aviation Nation Open House”

The Blue Angels And Thunderbirds Will Wrap Up Their 2016 Airshow Seasons This Weekend

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0

US Navy Blue Angels

The US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds will both wrap up their 2016 airshow seasons this coming weekend with their respective homecoming shows. The Blue Angels will perform at NAS Pensacola in Florida while the Thunderbirds will wow their hometown crowd at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. These shows mark the end of the major airshow season in the US; following the closing performances, the teams will begin preparing for their respective winter training periods and the 2017 season.

USAF Thunderbirds

While we have already posted preliminary schedules for both the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, check back with us in early December when updated 2017 and preliminary 2018 schedules are released at the ICAS convention!

Have you been able to see the teams during the 2016 season? We’d love to see some fan photos of them posted to the AirshowStuff Facebook page!

New Photo Album – Battle Creek Airshow 2016

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

USAF Thunderbirds - Battle Creek Airshow 2016

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! Check it out here: Battle Creek Airshow 2016 – Ryan Sundheimer

The 2016 Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow and Balloon Festival featured the USAF Thunderbirds, Hoppers Jet Team, Matt Younkin, Rob Holland, and more. For more coverage of the show, take a look at our earlier blog post.

Looking For Information On The 2016 Puerto Rico International Airshow?

posted in: Airshows | 6

USAF Thunderbirds - Puerto Rico International Airshow

The USAF Thunderbirds will be performing in Puerto Rico on October 8th and 9th, but there seems to be little information about the show online. We have received several questions about it from fans. Luckily, one of our fans tracked down this image, which gives the essential details as well as some links. It says that the 2016 Puerto Rico International Airshow will take place between 2pm and 4pm over Ft Cristobal, Old San Juan. You can look toward the 156th Airlift Wing social media accounts for future info.

Enjoy the show, everyone! Don’t forget to send some of your photos to the AirshowStuff Facebook page!

USAF Thunderbirds To Fly Over New York City, Statue of Liberty, And World Trade Center

posted in: Flyovers, Jet Teams | 3
USAF Thunderbirds Flyover Statue of Liberty in New York City
Photo credit: NY Airshow/USAF

Flyover alert! Six red, white and blue F-16 Fighting Falcons of the US Air Force Thunderbirds will fly over famous sights around New York City, NY on the morning of September 2nd.

The team will flyover the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson River, setting up a unique photo opportunity with the World Trade Center. If you live in the area and want to see the flyover yourself, Battery Park, South Cove Park, Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park, or Nelson A. Rockefeller Park should be good vantage points for the flyover Friday morning in Lower Manhattan. Liberty State Park or J. Owen Grundy Park on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River would also be good vantage points.

The six jets are expected over the landmarks around 9:45 am. AirshowStuff will be sure to post some pictures and videos of the flyover after it happens for those who can’t see it in person!

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