Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Fabulous Thunderbirds

As I promised some time ago, here are a whole passel of pictures featuring the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. These guys really put on an amazing show, filling every American with so much pride that I saw two or three small people burst from it right there on the tarmac. These pictures are from two shows I caught on consecutive days at the 2008 Sun-N-Fun Fly-in up in Lakeland. I showed up near the middle of the first show, but I saw the second show in it's entirety the next day. I shot over 800 pictures in all, and these are the thirty five or so best. Near the middle of the second show, all six planes were supposed to fly over in a delta formation and execute a roll as a formation. They flew over awful fast, but never rolled. Everyone sort of held their breath as the planes split off into groups of two at the end of the pass. After a minute or so, the announcer came on and said that there was some trouble with one of the planes. Flying off in groups of two allowed each pilot to scan the adjacent plane for visible damage. After another few minutes, one of the pairs flew in low over the runway, and one of the planes landed while the other one watched. The pilot stopped the plane as quickly as possible and shut off the engines without taxiing. They towed it all the way back around to the area where the spare planes were parked in formation. It was later revealed that the plane had struck a bird in plight, but the damage done to the plane was minimal. The other five pilots regrouped in the air and did another twenty minutes of show. Trust me when I say that if you get the chance, you should go see these guys perform. It is incredible.


Inkydog said...

Wow, incredible snaps, Ernie!

Anonymous said...

.......... amusing .... the plight of the damaged jet in flight ...... LMAO