Thunderbirds Headline Tampa Bay AirFest

Thunderbirds Headline Tampa Bay AirFest

The man they call Swagger climbs out of the 74-year-old former U.S. Navy training plane with a big smile.

“It’s good to be mayor,” says Bob Buckhorn, moments after taking a flight across Florida’s Tampa Bay in a North American SNJ single engine prop plane. The plane was part of the Geico Skytypers Airshow team, in town for the MacDill Air Force Base Presents Tampa Bay AirFest 2014. A few minutes earlier, Buckhorn, wearing his aviator jump suit and a Airshow team green and blue helmet, was in the back seat of the plane as it flew in a tight formation, traveling about 130 mph about 1,000 feet above the water.

It was a far cry from the speeds and heights Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s wide receiver Vincent Jackson would later achieve as a passenger in one of the Air Force Thunderbirds’ Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons. But for Buckhorn, it was still a thrill.

For the complete story by Howard Altman of The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune, click here.

Updated: March 21, 2014 — 1:43 PM
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