Thunderbirds command Hawaii skies, delight crowds on the ground - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Thunderbirds command Hawaii skies, delight crowds on the ground

Air Force Thunderbirds Air Force Thunderbirds
Carl & Yumiko Worthy Carl & Yumiko Worthy
Darian Wong Darian Wong
Kane & Kayla Mooi Kane & Kayla Mooi
Master Sgt. Pamela Anderson Master Sgt. Pamela Anderson

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE (KHNL) - If you felt the earth trembling on Oahu, that was the U.S. Air Force putting on quite a show in Hawaii's skies.

The Thunderbird's world renowned performance took off at Hickam Air Force Base Saturday afternoon.

The lightning fast F-16's entertained thousands of people with swirling stunts and dare-devil tactics.

They're one of the Air Force's source of pride and adrenaline-fueled joy.

Dominating the skies, drilling the air, and rebelling against gravity, only the best of the best earn the honor of flying these F-16's.

"They do things in the air that seem impossible," said Carl Worthy, a spectator from Makiki.

The thunderbirds can maneuver with such an advanced level of precision, this elite class of fighter pilots can fly as close as three feet, to just 18 inches from each other.

It's a show of excellence that has crowds at Hickam Air Force Base thrilled to have the Thunderbirds make Hawaii their first stop in their six-week world tour.

"The planes look cool because of the red white and blue colors," said Darian Wong, a spectator from Kaneohe.

"Do you guys want to be pilots now?"

"No. She wants to be a horse trainer but I'll be one," said Kane Mooi about his sister Kayla.

The Thunderbird's aerial acrobatics aren't just for show. They're actual maneuvers they use in combat.

If needed, the F-16's can quickly transform into fighter mode.

"If our aircraft are ever called, they have 72 hours to transition them back to full combat status," said Master Sgt. Pamela Anderson of the U.S. Air Force.

"It makes us proud to know that we have men and women like this with this kind of capability, protecting us," said Worthy.

And that is the message behind the spectacular display of supersonic skill. With 700,000-plus members of the Air Force committed to putting their lives on the line for the country, organizers say the thunderbirds are representatives of the Air Force story.

"We want the whole world to know that we have some of the best and brightest that there is," said Anderson.

The Thunderbirds will continue their show on Sunday at Hickam, starting at 3:00 p.m. Gates open at 10 a.m. It's all part of Hickam's open house, 'Wings Over The Pacific'. Everyone is invited, and the event is free.

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