Tyndall AFB Hosts USAF Thunderbirds in April

Tyndall Air Force Base will open its gates to the public at 9 a.m. April 22 and 23 to celebrate Gulf Coast Salute 2006, “Thunder over the Gulf.”

The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron "Thunderbirds" is scheduled to perform precision aerial maneuvers to exhibit the capabilities of modern high-performance aircraft to spectators here each day of the open house.

The Thunderbirds air demonstration will include a mix of six aircraft performing formation flying and solo routines. The four-aircraft diamond formation demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the solos highlight the maximum capabilities of the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The pilots will perform approximately 40 maneuvers in the Tyndall AFB demonstration and the entire show, including ground and air, runs about one hour.

The Thunderbirds were officially activated May 25, 1953, as the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The Korean War was the first time the U.S. used jet aircraft in combat and the mission of the 3600th was to show the American public the safety and reliability of the new technology of the time. They are currently based at Nellis AFB, Nev.

Admission and parking to the open house are free. Shuttle bus transportation will be provided from the parking area to the flight line. Security will be emphasized: no pets, weapons, glass bottles or containers will be allowed. Small coolers and backpacks will be permitted, but are subject to search.

For additional information, check out the Gulf Coast Salute 2006 official Web site at www.tyndall.af.mil or e-mail pacontacts@tyndall.af.mil.