Aviation History | History of Flight | Aviation History Articles, Warbirds, Bombers, Trainers, Pilots | USAF THUNDERBIRDS TO PERFORM AT SUN íN FUN



SUN íN FUN CAMPUS, LAKELAND, Fl. ñ (December 11, 2007) ñ The United States Air Force (USAF) Thunderbirds military jet team announced today that the Sun ín Fun Fly-In has been included on this yearís Thunderbirds schedule. The announcement was made today at the International Council of Airshows (ICAS) Convention currently underway in Las Vegas, NV.  The 2008 Sun ín Fun Fly-In will be held April 8 ñ 13 at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Fla.

ìSun ín Fun is honored and excited to hear that the worldís most recognized military jet team ñ the Thunderbirds ñ has included our event on their 2008 schedule,î said Sun ín Fun President and Convention Chairman John Burton.  ìTheir participation will add to the aircraft and activities already being planned for this yearís Fly-In.  We look forward to having the Thunderbirds here in Lakeland and know they will find the people and businesses throughout Lakeland, Polk County and central Florida to be avid enthusiasts and most hospitable hosts.î

The Thunderbirds plan to arrive at Sun ín Fun during the early portion of the Fly-In and remain through the remainder of the week.  They may engage in individual media flights and possibly a team orientation flight prior to their scheduled performances on Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13.

According to the U.S. Air Force, the Thunderbirds (officially named the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron) perform precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of Air Force high-performance aircraft to people throughout the world.  The Thunderbirds squadron is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots (including six demonstration pilots), four support officers, three civilians and more than 130 enlisted personnel performing in 25 career fields.  The air demonstration is a combination of formation flying and solo routines.

The four-aircraft ìDiamond Formationî demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the solo aircraft highlight the maximum capabilities of the F-16 ìFighting Falcon,î the fighter jet employed by the Thunderbird team.

The Thunderbirds perform approximately 30 maneuvers during their demonstration.  The entire Thunderbird performance, including ground and air routines, runs about an hour and fifteen minutes.

In addition to their responsibilities as the official U.S. Air Force aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds are part of Americaís active combat force.  If required, the teamís personnel and aircraft can be quickly integrated into a fighter unit at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, where the F-16s can be made combat-ready in less than 72 hours.

Sun ín Fun, a 501(c)(3) notñforñprofit organization based in Lakeland, Florida, is best known for its annual FlyñIn held each April.  The FlyñIn is the primary source of funding for Sun ën Funís expanding yearñround aviation education programs.  These include operation of the Florida Air Museum, the stateís ìOfficial Aviation Museum and Education Center,î which is also supported through grants from the Division of Historical Resources and Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Department of State.   In addition, Sun ín Fun has initiated education programs for aviation enthusiasts of all ages ñ especially young people ñ featuring valuable ìhands onî learning experiences.  A growing scholarship program provides financial support to ensure Sun ín Funís education programs are accessible to all.  For more information, access Sun ín Funís website ( or call the Sun ín Fun offices (863ñ644ñ2431).


Updated: July 18, 2011 — 3:26 PM
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