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Air Force Thunderbirds Announce 1997 Schedule

By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 1997 – As part of the Air Force's 50th anniversary celebration this year, the service's Thunderbirds jet demonstration team will perform at 36 events in 22 states. The team will also perform in the United Kingdom.

The Thunderbirds' demonstration schedule begins April 5 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., and ends Nov. 9 at Daytona Beach, Fla. More than 280 million people in all 50 states and 55 foreign countries have seen the red, white and blue jets in more than 3,400 aerial demonstrations.

A Thunderbirds air demonstration is a mix of formation flying and solo routines using F-16 Fighting Falcons. The pilots perform about 30 maneuvers in a demonstration and the entire show runs about an hour and 15 minutes.

The Thunderbirds squadron consists of eight pilots (including six demonstration pilots), four support officers, three civilians and more than 130 enlisted personnel in 25 career fields. Officers serve a two-year assignment with the squadron, while enlisted personnel serve three to four.

Besides being the official U.S. Air Force aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds are part of the Air Force combat force. If required, team personnel and aircraft can convert into a fighter unit at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Personnel can convert the aircraft to combat status in less than 72 hours.

Officials expect to release schedules for the Navy Blue Angels jet demonstration team and the Army Golden Knights parachute team later this month.

Thunderbirds 1997 Schedule

April 5-6   Air Show, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.

April 12    Air Show, Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Ariz.

April 13    Fresno (Calif.) Air National Guard Open House

April 19    Thunder Over Louisville (Ky.).

April 26    International Air Show, Nellis AFB, Nev.

May 3-4     Air & Sea Show, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

May 17-18   Joint Service Open House, Andrews AFB, Md.

May 24      Air Show, Royal Air Force Base, Mildenhall, United Kingdom

May 28      U.S. Air Force Academy commencement, Colorado Springs, Colo.

May 31      Air Show Colorado, Broomfield

June 1      Air Show Colorado, Broomfield

June 7      Air Force 50th Anniversary Celebration, Scott AFB, Ill.

June 8      Open House, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind.

June 14-15  Aerospace American International Air Show, Oklahoma City

June 28     Air Show, Battle Creek, Mich.

July 4      Air Force 50th Anniversary Observance, Hickam AFB, Hawaii

July 12-13  International Air Fair, Yakima, Wash.

July 19-20  Air Show, Dayton, Ohio

July 23     Air Show, Cheyenne, Wyo.

July 26-27  Sea 'N' Sky Fest, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Wash.

Aug. 2-3    Air Show, Hanscom AFB, Mass.

Aug. 15     Wings of Eagles Air Show, Batavia, N.Y.

Aug. 16-17  Rickenbacker Air Show, Columbus, Ohio

Aug. 23-24  Air and Water Show, Chicago

Aug. 30     Open House, Peterson AFB, Colo.

Sept. 1     Armed Forces Air Show, Randolph AFB, Texas

Sept. 5-6   Community Appreciation Day, Langley AFB, Va.

Sept. 7     Community Appreciation Day, Moody AFB, Ga.

Sept. 13-14 International Air Show, Syracuse, N.Y.

Sept. 20-21 Air Show, Youngstown, Ohio

Sept. 27-28 Wings Over Houston Air Show, Houston

Oct. 4-5    Confederate Air Force Air Show, Midland, Texas

Oct. 11-12  Skyfest '97, Birmingham, Ala.

Oct. 18-19  Open House, Edwards AFB, Calif.

Oct. 25-26  Air Show, New Orleans NAS

Nov. 1-2    Air Force 50th Anniversary Open House, Eglin AFB, Fla.

Nov. 8-9    Daytona Skyfest, Daytona Beach, Fla.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe Air Force Thunderbirds air demonstration team kicks off its 1997 season at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., April 5-6. The team will fly at 36 events in 22 states this year, plus make an appearance in Great Britain.  
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