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Contest offers opportunity to fly with The Thunderbirds

April 06, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

oAir show to temporarily displace some residents south of airport

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --At least one person will have the opportunity to fly with The Thunderbirds, the elite U.S. Air Force aerial team, as part of a "Hometown Heroes" contest being held before the Thunder over the Blue Ridge Air Show on Labor Day weekend, officials announced Tuesday.

Contestants vying for the honor of flying with The Thunderbirds may either nominate themselves or another worthy individual, according to a news release by the public affairs office of the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard.

"The essay must be no more than 350 words long and explain why someone has made a difference in the community for the better. For example, an average citizen who has saved someone's life; a renowned teacher or mentor; a community humanitarian or an individual who has dedicated his or her life to working with at-risk children may all be strong contenders if nominated as a 'Hometown Hero,'" according to the announcement.

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All essays must be submitted by May 1 to the 167th Airlift Wing's Public Affairs Office by e-mail at 167aw.pa@ang.af.mil">167aw.pa@ang.af.mil or faxed to 304-616-5111. Four people will be selected as runner-ups who might also participate in flights, if available, according to the announcement.

The winner will receive a one-hour Thunderbird orientation flight in one of the world's premiere fighter jets, the Lockheed Martin F-16D.

In order to be considered for a flight with the Thunderbirds, an individual must not have vertigo and not be taller than 6 feet 5 inches. They must weigh between 103 to 245 pounds, according to the news release.

Passengers must be at least 18 years old and no older than 55. They must also be able to speak and understand English. Other qualifying considerations include: chest size range, 34 inches to 48 inches; a maximum waist of 38 inches; and boot size range of 5 to 13 (men's sizes). The approved sitting height range is between 34 and 39.7 inches and the total height is between 64 and 77 inches.

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