Still in the city of Las Vegas, I wait for someone taking me back to Los Angeles or Bakersfield to join Dea “Cooper”, who wants to take me to the Young Eagles Event on 7th of decembre, when suddenly…
…”Mace” asks me to join her on her next flight.
Sure, why not, am I thinking. Mace is also based in Las Vegas, so that works out fine. One little problem, we need to get me to her within a few hours time frame as she goes on holidays the day after. A bit tricky, but no problem for Nicole.
Pretty exciting, even though I am just waiting. But I use the time to inform myself about these USAF (United States Air Force) Air Demonstration Squadron – the “Thunderbirds”. They were created 66 years ago, in 1953, and is after the French Air Force Patrouille de France (1931) and the United States Navy Blue Angels (1946) the third-oldest formal flying aerobatic team. The Thunderbirds are assigned to the 57th wings, based at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada, and have flown in front of more than 300 million people since 1953. (see more information here).
Then its time.
Mace is already uniformed and takes me to these legendary planes. We enter the F-16, and I just can’t believe it.
“The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics (its aviation unit is now part of Lockheed Martin) for the United States Air Force (USAF). … Only a few minor modifications differentiate a Thunderbird from an operational F-16C. These include the replacement of the 20 mm cannon and ammunition drum with a smoke-generating system, including its plumbing and control switches, the removal of the jet fuel starter exhaust door, and the application of the Thunderbirds’ glossy red, white, and blue polyurethane paint scheme. All of the modification work is performed at the maintenance depot at Hill AFB near Ogden, Utah. Other than those modifications, the aircraft are taken from the standard USAF inventory as production fighters, and can be returned to an operational squadron in short order without any major modification.” (see more information here).
And then Mace buckles me up, really tight. She know why!
In less than the blink of an eye, we are high in the sky….
Mace is so cool and calm, and me…I am nervous, but also pretty courageous, con’t you agree?
Want to see the flight in moving pictures?