USAF THUNDERBIRDS 3600th Air Demonstration Squadron Nellis AFB, Nevada Cadet 4th Class Ashley Copes

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USAF THUNDERBIRDS 3600th Air Demonstration Squadron Nellis AFB, Nevada Cadet 4th Class Ashley Copes Slide 2 Overview History and Background Selection Process and Job The Air Show Slide 3 History and Background b Officially activated 25 May 1953 b Luke AFB, AZ b 3600th Air Demonstration Squadron b Original Name StardustersStardusters Only used during first six showsOnly used during first six shows Slide 4 History and Background b Native American Legend b Thunderbird was looked upon to grant victory in battle b Air Force found it a better emblem Slide 5 History and Background b First Plane (1953-1955) b F-84G Thunderjet b First appearance: 1 June 1953 at Nellis AFB, NV b 1st public appearance: 23 June 1953 in Cheyenne, WY b Last used 7 February 1955 at Webb AFB, TX Slide 6 History and Background b Second plane b F-84F Thunderstreak b Only used for part of 1955 Slide 7 History and Background JUNE 1956 b Home of Thunderbirds relocates to Nellis AFB b Simultaneous transition from F-84 series to F-100C Super Sabre Slide 8 History and Background b Fourth plane commissioned: F-105B Thunderchief b Only used for 6 shows Slide 9 History and Background b Fifth plane: F-100D b 13 years (minus stint with F-105) of F-100 jets performing as Thunderbirds Slide 10 History and Background Sixth Plane (1969-1973) F-4E Phantom II Slide 11 History and Background b Seventh Plane (1974-1983) b T-38A Talon b Switch made because of oil embargo b First supersonic trainer aircraft used Slide 12 History and Background b Eighth Plane (1983-1992) b F-16A (widely used in Operation Desert Storm) Slide 13 History and Background Ninth Plane (1992-present) F-16C Fighting Falcon Slide 14 History and Background Nearly 48 years of performance b Every US State b 57 Countries world-wide b More than 3500 demonstrations J There has never been a show cancelled due to maintenance problems! Slide 15 Selection Process and Job Applicant Semi-Finalist Finalist The Job Intense Competition with Multiple Phases Slide 16 Selection Process and Job b Job Performance Record b Communication Skills b Appearance b Written Recommendations b A pilot must have a minimum of 1,000 flying hours in high- performance aircraft before applying. Every Applicants Background is Intensely Reviewed Slide 17 Selection Process and Job Semi-Finalist b Deploys with the team b Experiences travel conditions and rigorous demands of job Slide 18 Selection Process and Job Finalist b Travels to Nellis AFB, NV b Many personal interviews b Extensive medical examinations Slide 19 Selection Process and Job If Chosen: b Officers are required to serve 2 years on the Thunderbird team b Enlisted personnel are required to serve between 3 and 4 years Slide 20 Selection Process and Job Pilots b Incur 3 1/2 months of vigorous training b Away from home for demonstrations 200-250 days a year b Each position is unique and NOT interchangeable with other pilots Slide 21 The Air Show b Season lasts from March to November b Winter season used to train new members Slide 22 The Air Show Personnel Involved b 8 Pilots (6 Demonstration) b 4 Support Officers b 3 Civilians b 130+ Enlisted Personnel Slide 23 The Air Show b 6 aircraft perform over 30 maneuvers b F-16C Fighting Falcon b Multi-role fighter (tactical bomber and/or air-to-air combat) b Slightly modified for Thunderbird model Smoke-generating system in place of 20mm cannon in the rearSmoke-generating system in place of 20mm cannon in the rear Thunderbirds colors painted instead of normal gray/blue colorThunderbirds colors painted instead of normal gray/blue color Slide 24 The Air Show b Begins with 4 aircraft taking-off in tight diamond-formation b Continues with a series of different maneuvers Slide 25 The Air Show Tight Diamond Formation Slide 26 The Air Show Arrowhead Loop b While in Arrowhead Formation, 4 planes roll as one unit b High-speed rolls are also performed by the solo planes Slide 27 The Air Show Maximum Performance Turn b 9 Gs acting upon pilots body (solo maneuver) b 9 times pilots body weight while making a 360-degree turn in a 3,000 foot radius Slide 28 The Air Show Tactical Surprise b Solo pilot sneaks up to diamond formation at very high speed b Solo pilot must be cautious not to break sound barrier! Slide 29 The Air Show Calypso Pass One plane inverts itself atop another plane Slide 30 The Air Show Cross-over Key idea: Traveling at Very High Speeds Slide 31 The Air Show Each show consists of a series of maneuvers that every Air Force fighter pilot learns in his or her initial training. The only difference is that we fly them in tighter formation and closer to the ground. -SSgt. Charles Ramey Slide 32 The Air Show How close to each other do they fly? 18 to 3 between inner wing-tips How close to the ground are they? As low as 75 feet! Slide 33 Conclusion b Thunderbirds used 9 different aircraft, currently using F-16C. b The selection process is difficult. b The demonstration/air show is amazing with stunts that are not only difficult but very beautiful in their art.