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Thunderbirds Show 6/2/02

Tue Jun 04, 2002 10:07 am

Yesterday at the Hanscom AFB (Boston area) Air Show the weather was very windy. Gusts over 30 and sustained winds close to that. Skies at the time of the show were clear, with an unlimited ceiling.

When the Thunderbirds departed to start the show, they did so one plane at a time; not the way I've normally seen them with the two solos followed by the four-ship diamond taking off in formation. Was this because of winds, or is this the way they are starting all 2002 shows?


Chris in New Hampshire
Posts: 606
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 9:40 am

RE: Thunderbirds Show 6/2/02

Tue Jun 04, 2002 10:49 am

Winds could very well have been a factor. There are maximum allowable wind speeds for formation takeoffs.

As for the standard order, I've always seen it just the opposite of what you mentioned. Usually the diamond-four followed by number six doing a quick roll with a turn-out, then number 5 pulling into an immediate loop. However, the team obviously retains the right to alter the show however the commander sees fit and approved by his immediate commander.

By the way, when I was stationed in San Antonio, I had the opportunity to listen to the Thunderbirds frequency while in the tower. Normally, they do not disclose their frequency for safety, as they rely heavily on radio transmissions to coordinate. Unknown radio calls would disrupt their routine. However, our "air boss" for the show was a former Thunderbird and he was able to get the frequency. At times, these guys are pretty funny. They sang a song as they taxied out...each pilot took a line, and they are very animated in making their coordination calls. If you ever get the opportunity, they're a fun bunch to listen in on.

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