SUN ’n FUN CAMPUS, LAKELAND, FL. – The United States Air Force (USAF) Thunderbirdsmilitary jet demonstration team announced today that the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In & Expo has been selected as a general aviation event venue on the 2012 Thunderbirds appearance schedule. The announcement was made today at the International Council of Airshows (ICAS) Convention currently underway in Las Vegas, NV. The 2012 SUN ’n FUN International Fly-In & Expo will be held March 27-April 1 on its campus at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida.
“SUN ’n FUN is honored and excited to hear that the world recognized military jet team – the Thunderbirds – has included our event on their 2012 schedule,” said SUN ’n FUN President and CEO, John “Lites” Leenhouts. “Their participation will headline our 2012 event adding to the exciting array of aircraft and activities already planned for our 38th annual celebration. We are delighted that the Thunderbirds will return to the skies over Lakeland, knowing the remarkable impact their appearance made on all our guests and friends throughout Polk and Hillsborough Counties in 2008 and 2010. The Thunderbirds plan to arrive at SUN ’n FUN during the second half of the six day SUN ’n FUN event. They may engage in individual media flights and a team training flight prior to their scheduled performances on Saturday and Sunday, March 31 & April 1.Advanced discounted ticket packages to SUN ’n FUN are available on the SUN ’n FUN website atwww.sun-n-fun.org.
According to the U.S. Air Force, the Thunderbirds (officially named the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron) perform precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of Air Force high-performance aircraft to people throughout the world. The Thunderbirds squadron is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots (including six demonstration pilots), four support officers, three civilians and more than 130 enlisted personnel performing in 25 career fields. The air demonstration is a combination of formation flying and solo routines.The four-aircraft “Diamond Formation” demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the solo aircraft highlights the maximum capabilities of the F-16 “Fighting Falcon,” the fighter jet employed by the Thunderbird team. The Thunderbirds perform approximately 30 maneuvers during their demonstration. The entire Thunderbird performance, including ground and air routines, runs about an hour and fifteen minutes.
In addition to their responsibilities as the official U.S. Air Force aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds are part of America’s active combat force. f required, the team’s personnel and aircraft can be quickly integrated into a fighter unit at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, where the F-16s can be made combat-ready in less than 72 hours.