Thunderbirds, Golden Knights to perform at air show

  • Published
  • By SSgt Sherree Grebenstein
  • 167AW
The United States Air Force Thunderbirds and United States Army Parachute Team Golden Knights will perform at an air show hosted by the West Virginia Air National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing on Labor Day weekend 2010, Sept. 4-5, 2010.
The prestigious military aerial acts will headline the "Thunder Over the Blue Ridge" air show. More than 80,000 visitors are expected to visit the air base in Martinsburg for the two-day event which will include an open house.
Col. Roger L. Nye, commander of the 167th Airlift Wing, said the open house will give the public an opportunity to see firsthand the $280 million worth of construction done at the base to accommodate the C-5 Galaxies aircraft stationed there.
The United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, will act as the fiscal agent for the show as well as receive all proceeds from the event, Col. Nye said.
The two military aerial acts scheduled for the air show are expected to be big draws.
The Thunderbirds, originally known as the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit, out of Luke AFB, Ariz., was activated on May 25, 1953. The Thunderbirds's precision aerobatics are performed in F-16C Fighting Falcons.
The demonstration squadron is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots, including six demonstration pilots, four support officers, four civilians and about 110 enlisted people performing in more than 29 Air Force specialties.
The Thunderbirds' aerial demonstration is a mix of formation flying and solo routines. The pilots perform about 40 maneuvers in a demonstration. The entire show, including ground and air, runs about one hour. The air show season lasts from March to November, with the winter months used to train new members.
The team's 57th show season is scheduled to take them to more than 65 shows in 27 states and Canada.
For more information about the Thunderbirds go to their Web site at
Known as the "Official Ambassadors of the Army," the Golden Knights reach a third of the nation annually by performing spectacular live parachute demonstrations.
Performing synchronized skydiving maneuvers, The Golden Knights celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009 as the Army's official demonstration team.
The Golden Knights have performed more than 15,000 shows in all 50 states and 48 countries, reaching more than 20,000 people per show.
The 91 men and women comprise the Golden Knights are separated into seven sections - two demonstration teams, a tandem team, two competition teams, an aviation detachment and a headquarters section.
The demonstration teams perform two different shows from an altitude of 12,500 feet. The mass show entails one jumper exiting the aircraft and flying the national colors. The soldier will then narrate the show for the audience while the rest of the team exits the aircraft maneuvering together to form one large mass formation.
The full show consists of four separate maneuvers, which demonstrate the maneuverability of the human body while falling at speeds in excess of 120 mph.
For more information on the Golden Knights go to their Web site at