The Thunderbirds Mesmerize Waikiki Audience

Chad Kagawa
Chad Kagawa
Krista Ruggieri
Krista Ruggieri
Ken & Margo Hawkins
Ken & Margo Hawkins
Machiko Goto, Asuka Tomoyose & Yukari Ebihara
Machiko Goto, Asuka Tomoyose & Yukari Ebihara

WAIKIKI (KHNL) -- The sky above Waikiki lit up this afternoon with a gravity-defying aerial display. The world-famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds roared over the south side of Oahu.

Up in the sky, it's not a bird exactly. It's a bunch of planes. It's the Thunderbirds.

With moves like this, these F-16s made Waikiki stop and take notice.

"Loud. Thunder, like thunder," said Chad Kagawa, a six-year-old spectator.

"When they came over ahead us, it was really loud because they were really close to us," said Krista Ruggieri, seven-year-old spectator.

Maybe too loud for some young ears, but no one could deny how skilled these pilots are.

"It was super fast because they could do tricks and they could do really good tricks," said Ruggieri.

Tricks that mesmerized thousands of spectators.

The Thunderbirds had some practice runs earlier in the week, but this is the real deal, and it attracted an international audience.

"Wonderful! Absolutely incredible! Very good," said Ken and Margo Hawkins, spectators who are visiting from Cairns, Australia. "Sneaky, aren't they? Coming up straight behind us. Just awesome!"

"We were so surprised," said Machiko Goto, an exchange student from Kagoshima, Japan. "We didn't know what else to say."

"Sometimes, I was 'Ahhhh!'" said Asuka Tomoyose, cupping her ears. She is an exchange student from Okinawa, Japan.

"It was noisy at first but you get used to it afterwards," added Yukari Ebihara, an exchange student from Nagoya, Japan.

They're also used to seeing amazing acrobatics, one after another.

"To learn all those tricks, I bet they practice really hard," said Ruggieri.

Could there be a future Air Force pilot in the audience?

"Did that make you want to do that someday?" asked KHNL.

"No," Ruggieri replied.

Well, not just yet, but this could be all the inspiration a young mind needs to soar high in the deep, blue sky.

Saturday's event was a high flying way to cap off the Air Force's 60th anniversary celebration.