Thunderbirds Are Go!

Thunderbirds in Hawaii

Thunderbirds in Hawaii

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team made its triumphant return back to Honolulu for a 2 day spectacular show this past weekend, September 19 and 20. Thousands of people flocked to a rare open house at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii. The open house featured displays of various military aircraft with the highlight being the 2 public performances of the Thunderbirds each afternoon.

The Thunderbirds never disappoint their mesmerized audiences as they perform a series of in-flight routines that scream with speed, finesse, altitude and sonic noise. All for the good as everyone looks on in awe and wonder, with many trying to keep time with the fast moving jets to get that picture perfect photograph.

The Thunderbirds have been flying since 1967 and currently deploy with the Lockheed Martin built F-16 Flying Falcon. The Falcon is a single seat fighter jet that has a long distinguished record of service with the Air Force. It can fly at speeds of up to 1,500 mph or 2 times the speed of sound. For demonstration purposes the Thunderbirds usually push their planes to about 600 mph.

This year’s public show was the 2nd in the past two years in Hawaii. The Thunderbirds also came to Honolulu in September 2007.

The photo slideshow below depicts both the 2007 and 2009 performances.

You can view a larger version of the slideshow by going to its Flickr page or to my website.

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Melvin Ah Ching is a photographer, consultant, blogger, desktop publisher, and computer enthusiast living and working in Hawaii. The Hawaii Files have been online since 2006.