NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) —
The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, known as the “Thunderbirds“, recently completed its certification for the 2022 show season.
General Mark Kellycommander of air combat command, certified the Thunderbirds after a rigorous four-month training season. This certification guarantees the safety of the team and maneuvers.
“The experience gained through the new training program and the training trip…it shows,” Kelly said. “I am proud to announce the official certification of the Thunderbirds for the 2022 season.”
From 2020, the team has adopted a dynamic “accelerate change or lose” mindset, resulting in significant improvements to the demonstration and training program.
The 2022 team executed the new training program for the first time this year, exercising all parts of the team – logistics, maintenance, public affairs and exhibition center operations – at multiple training sites, including its first complete show of six ships, with music and narration.
The new training schedule, combined with training at multiple deployed sites, saw the team reach its 50th practice show on March 10, approximately 25 full practice shows ahead of schedule.
“This is the culmination of all our hard work through an unprecedented winter training deployment and today’s certification demonstration would not have been possible had we not seen challenging situations similar to Spaceport and Fort Huachuca,” said Lieutenant Colonel Justin Elliott, Commander/Chief of the Thunderbirds. “From the perspective of the entire team, this is the best prepared Thunderbirds squadron in generations.
“We have to keep moving forward from here; continue to build on this team’s 68.5 years of excellence in the name of service to something greater than ourselves.
The team will have performed an entire season of training demonstrations (approximately 60 shows); to include the ground show, comms, narration, music, and logistics, before beginning their actual show season on March 26.
Now that certification is complete, the Thunderbirds can officially kick off the 2022 season to accomplish their mission to “Recruit, Retain and Inspire,” while demonstrating the incredible capabilities of the Air Force’s first multirole fighter, the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
“The [certification] the conditions were tough and similar to what the team will see on the road this year,” Kelly said. “But they were able to mitigate risk appropriately and put on an incredible display. Everything we do on this team, which is Team America, is to perform extraordinary aviation tasks extraordinarily well with uncompromising standards of professionalism.
For more information on Thunderbirds and next show datesplease visit airforce.com/thunderbirds or follow us on social networks @afthunderbirds.