The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds hosted a celebrity flight orientation here April 11.
Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals cornerback, flew in an F-16 Fighting Falcon after being selected by the Thunderbirds to fly as a guest passenger.
The flight was originally slated for April 10, but was delayed due to technical difficulty.
Even though Peterson’s flight was delayed, he was still excited to climb back into the F-16’s cockpit.
“I wasn’t worried about it,” Peterson said. “It just gave me a little more time to think about the suspense and the way it’s going to be moving. The crew chief did a great job of getting the plane back on its feet.”
Not only was Peterson impressed with how quickly the maintenance crew was able to get the Fighting Falcon back in the air, but he was also pleased with the flight performance of his pilot Maj. Tyler “Wolf” Ellison, U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron operations officer.
“Wolf did a great job going through his maneuvers,” Peterson said. “From takeoff, I knew it was going to be an awesome ride because I’m a speed guy. I’m still high off the adrenaline. I told him ‘Don’t hold back. Just have fun,’ and we had a blast.”
For approximately 60 minutes, Peterson experienced precision aerial maneuvers and capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
“It was impeccable,” Peterson said. “It was everything I expected. Words can’t even describe the adrenaline, the excitement or the thrill of that flight. It was just unbelievable.”
The USAF Thunderbirds are here as the main attraction of the Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona Open House April 12-13.