The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds announced their 2013 show schedule Dec. 11. In its 60th season, the team is slated to perform more than 60 demonstrations in 38 locations, including a six-week tour through the Pacific.
The flying unit, officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, will again kick off its season by performing the opening flyover for NASCAR’s Daytona 500 on Feb. 24.
The remainder of the schedule is as follows:
Feb. 24: Daytona Beach, Fla. (Daytona 500 NASCAR Race Fly-by only)
March 6: Nellis AFB, Nev. (COMACC Approval Show)
March 10: Las Vegas, Nev. (Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Race Fly-by only)
March 12: Creech AFB, Nev. (Appreciation Show)
March 16-17: Luke AFB, Ariz.
March 23-24: Titusville, Fla.
March 26-31: Down (Easter Break—Mar 31 is Easter Sunday)
April 20-21: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
May 4-5: Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
May 11-12: Martinsburg, W.Va.
May 18-19: Fairchild AFB, Wash.
May 25-26: Wantagh (Jones Beach), N.Y.
May 29: USAF Academy, Colo. (Academy Graduation)
June 1-2: Rochester, N.Y.
June 8: Joint Base Charleston, S.C
June 15-16: Ypsilanti, Mich.
June 22-23: Dayton, Ohio
June 29-30: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
July 6-7: Battle Creek, Mich.
July 20-21: Kalispell, Mont.
July 24: Cheyenne (F. E. Warren AFB), Wyo.
July 31: Oshkosh, Wisc.
Aug. 3-4: Milwaukee, Wisc.
Aug. 10-11: Burlington, Vt.
Aug. 17-18: Chicago, Ill.
Aug. 22-Sept. 30: Pacific/Asia Tour (dates and locations TBD)
Oct. 12-13: Rome, Ga.
Oct. 19-20: Cocoa Beach, Fla.
Oct. 26-27: Houston, Texas
Nov 2-3: Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas
Nov. 9-10: Nellis AFB, Nev.
“It’s a great time of year for us,” said Lt. Col. Greg Moseley, Thunderbirds commander and lead pilot. “We’re busy with the training season, but when our travel schedule is released, we all feel a renewed excitement about our mission.
“This year will be even more special. It’ll be our 60th anniversary, and we’ll get the amazing opportunity to travel across Asia and tell the U.S. Air Force story to people who don’t get to hear it very often. That’s what this job is all about — representing Airmen around the world.”
The Thunderbirds date back to 1953, when the team flew the straight-winged F-84G Thunderjets. This year will mark the 31st season the squadron has performed in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, one of the Air Force’s most reliable and combat-proven fighter aircraft.
Assigned to Air Combat Command, the Thunderbirds unit is composed of six demonstration pilots, two support pilots, four additional support officers, three civilians and more than 100 enlisted people serving in more than two dozen Air Force job specialties.
The primary product of that teamwork is a Thunderbirds aerial demonstration, which is approximately 40 maneuvers, varying between formation flying and solo routines. The entire show, including the beginning ground ceremony, lasts about one hour.
A typical air show travel season extends from March to November. In the winter months, the team trains new members and diligently practices the demonstration maneuvers.