Thunderbirds Ride – Full Description Episode

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Photography by Tim Reed.

Here it is! The full-length episode with all of my initial reactions from the USAF Thunderbirds flight!

I have a lot of audio and video yet to post and I plan to do a full summary episode with audio from the suit-up, the briefings, and the flight. But, in the meantime, I think it’s important to get the story out as soon as possible.

And what better way to do that than by using that age-old journalistic technique: Hangar-flying!

For this episode, I’ve invited friend, Civil Air Patrol (USAF Auxiliary) captain, and confessed Air Force and F-16 fanboy Rod Rakic to take over the flight controls and the microphone and interview me. This is a roughly chronological (but otherwise free-flowing) discussion of the media ride that I took with Maj Tony Mulhare, Thunderbird No. 8, this past Friday. We departed the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival just before the rest of the Thunderbirds team began its demo and returned just before the demo was complete.

In the intervening time, Maj Mulhare put the F-16D through its paces in the Hersey Military Operations Area about 80 nm and 12 minutes (!) of Battle Creek and I was along to observe the capabilities of this outstanding aircraft.

Listen in and you’ll hear my impressions just over 24 hours after the ride. Plenty to talk about, but it’s still gelling, so this episode contains from-the-hip, honest, and gut-level commentary about the flight, the Air Force, and how the experience expanded the way I think about aviation.

See the links on the right side of the page for links to US Air Force and Thunderbirds resources.

Thunderbirds Ride Video – The Takeoff and Climb

We got the video issues ironed out (mostly) and we have a post of the takeoff sequence!

Check this out! 0 to 350 KIAS in a matter of seconds and then a 4-5 gee pull-up.