Thunderbirds, Golden Knights to appear at W.Va. air show

December 09, 2009

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, and the U.S Army Parachute Team Golden Knights will be flying at the 2010 air show to be held at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport south of Martinsburg.

The aerial military acts for the "Thunder Over the Blue Ridge" air show on Sept. 4-5 were formally announced Wednesday by the public affairs office of the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard, which is based at the airport and is hosting the event.

Maj. Melissa Shade said Wednesday that a complete lineup for the air show was still being finalized.

"We have not booked the civilian acts yet," Shade said.

The Thunderbirds' schedule for the demonstration team's 57th show season was announced Tuesday.

"We are humbled to have the opportunity to travel the U.S and Canada this year, representing the 700,000 Airmen in America's Air Force," said Air Demonstration Squadron public affairs officer Capt. Jason McCree in a news release posted on the unit's Web site.


The 167th Airlift Wing, a reserve unit of the U.S. Air Force, is partnering with organizers of the three Spirit of America Air shows previously held at Shepherd Field to hold the 2010 show, officials have said.

The Thunderbirds, originally known as the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit, was activated on May 25, 1953, according to the news release.

The demonstration squadron is an Air Combat Command unit made up of eight pilots, including six demonstration pilots, four support officers, four civilians and about 110 enlisted people performing in more than 29 Air Force specialties.

The Thunderbirds' aerial demonstration is a mix of formation flying and solo routines. The pilots perform about 40 maneuvers in a demonstration. The entire show, including ground and air, runs about one hour. The air show season lasts from March to November, with the winter months used to train new members.

The team's 57th show season is scheduled to take them to more than 65 shows in 27 states and Canada.

The Golden Knights, the U.S. Army's official parachute demonstration team, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

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