USAF Thunderbirds at 2011 Vectren/Dayton Air Show
Despite the oppressive heat nearly 100 degrees, thousands of aviation enthusiasts rushed on the grounds of the Dayton International Airport for the 38th Annual Vectren/Dayton Air Show. While many came specifically to see the USAF Thunderbirds demonstration team, others came also to take advantage of the historically significant aircraft on static display, view other performers or even catch a ride on the helicopters of the army of the war of the Vietnam.
Some Show highlights included a recreation of the attack on Pearl Harbor featuring the planes in the film ” Tora! Tora! Tora! “accompanied by an impressive pyrotechnic display for an extra touch of realism. There was also the Red Bull Air Force and the US Army’s Golden Knights skydiving demonstrations. Another act sponsored by Red Bull was the incredible BO-105 aerobatic helicopter flown by pilot projects Chuck Aaron. Chuck is the only FAA-licensed helicopter aerobatic pilot, and the extensive changes to BO-105, changes that allow it to perform heart-stopping inverted loops and spins, is a closely guarded secret. Along with Chuck, pilots Sean Tucker and Melissa Pemberton, noted both acrobatic pilots, put their talents on display in a matrix of dizzying manoeuvres that proud audience.
The US military was also well represented at this year’s Air Show. an A-10 “Warthog” and an F/A-18 Super Hornet put an impressive display of power and performance give spectators a insight into how these aircraft used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Crowd was also treated to the rare sight of two of the three heavy bomber, flown by the U.S. Air Force at the same time. B-2A spirit stealth-bomber wing of the Air Show, demonstrating its unique shape and sound-dampened engines, before flying on. Its counterpart, the B-1B Lancer, a swept wing, supersonic bombers thundered into the sky with its four afterburning engines shaking ground. B-1B Lancer performs a series of high speed flybys before after the B-2 out of the area.
The last and most anticipated, law of the day was the USAF Thunderbirds. The audience applauded as the demonstration team of the F-16 Falcon aircraft through a number of hair-raising maneuvers such as rolling diamond formations and head-to-head flybys. The USAF Thunderbirds performance was covered with a soundtrack with music, as well as an explanation of the manoeuvres and the history of the squadron announcer. Fortunately for the thousands present on Saturday, the weather cooperated and the air was crisp and clear throughout the aerial demonstration. Unfortunately forced a storm the USAF Thunderbirds to cut short their performance on Sunday.