Thunderbirds are go to celebrate USAF 70th at RIAT 2017
Plans to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force (USAF) at next summer's Royal International Air Tattoo were given a huge boost this week following the announcement that one of the world's most popular display teams will make a rare trip across the Atlantic to take part.
The Thunderbirds’ performance at the Air Tattoo, which takes place on July 14-16, will be the team’s only UK appearance next year and will be part of the airshow’s official tribute to mark the US Air Force’s 70th anniversary. As well as seeing a range of operational and historic US Air Force aircraft in the air and on the ground, Air Tattoo visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the key role the air arm plays in a range of international coalitions and partnerships.
Formed in 1953, the team is renowned as much for its choreographed pre-flight ground routine - performed with pinpoint accuracy - as it is for its stunning aerial displays.
Flying six F-16 Fighting Falcons, elite pilots from the US Air Force will perform a mix of formation flying and solo routines that highlight the maximum capabilities of the USAF’s frontline, multirole fighter jet. The team, which is based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, has only appeared at the Air Tattoo once before – in 2007.
Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said the announcement of the Thunderbirds’ participation demonstrated the incredibly strong bond that exists with the US Air Force. He said: “The history – and success – of the Air Tattoo is inextricably linked to the US Air Force, on whose base the event takes place each year. I am pleased that we’ll have the opportunity next summer to mark their 70th anniversary.”