Thunderbirds revisited


POSTED: Thursday, September 17, 2009

Refueling seven times in midair, the Thunderbirds finally soared above Oahu yesterday, six hours after leaving their base in Las Vegas.

Before touching down, six F-16 Fighting Falcons fell into a triangle formation and climbed above Hickam Air Force base, then performed about 20 minutes of maneuvers.

The Thunderbirds are back to perform two public shows this weekend at Hickam Air Force Base. The ground shows start at 2:30 p.m. with the air shows at 3 p.m.

;[Preview]  Thunderbirds fill the skies

The Air Force Thunderbirds arrived today and will be performing at Hickam Air Force Base this weekend.

Watch ]


It's the first time the U.S. Air Force's demonstration squadron has performed in Hawaii since 2007, when they did a show off Waikiki.

“;Our mission is to represent the entire Air Force,”; said Lt. Col. Greg Thomas, commander of the Thunderbirds. “;It's important for us to get out to all of America, to show all Americans what their Air Force does for them each and every day.”;





        The “;Wings Over the Pacific”; open house is free for the public this Saturday and Sunday at Hickam Air Force Base.

Gates open at 9:30 a.m. with the Thunderbirds performing at 2:30 p.m. both days.


Enter through the main gate at Hickam Air Force Base. Parking is available on base.


The show includes the Army's Golden Knights parachute team, airplane displays, food vendors and entertainers.


Unauthorized items include pets, chairs and coolers.


Visit www.hafb2009openhouse.com.




The hourlong show will display the pride, professionalism and precision of the 700,000 members of the Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves. F-16 Fighting Falcons are used around the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Honolulu's show is the beginning of a six-week international tour with stops in Australia, Guam, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

Maj. Sean Gustafson, the pilot of the No. 4 jet that flies in the rear of the diamond formation, said the crowd should expect a low, loud and fast performance.

Six red, white and blue Fighting Falcons—two arrived on standby in case of mechanical problems—will fly about 600 mph, within 3 feet of each other, and as low as 150 feet.

“;It looks more dangerous than it really is,”; Thomas said.

He said the pilots have trained rigorously for four months and continue training during the tour.

Still, the maneuvers will be awe-inspiring and breathtaking, promised tech. Sgt. Matthew Inman, crew chief for the No. 8 jet.

“;It's a big rush,”; said Gustafson, who as a civilian flies Boeing 767s for Delta Airlines.