Thunderbirds arrive in Louisville for air show planning

  • Published
  • By Maj. Dale Greer
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Two members of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds arrived at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base today in preparation for the Thunder Over Louisville air show, flying their trademark red-white-and-blue F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft.

The Airmen are in town to coordinate logistics, maintenance and air show requirements with aviation officials and members of the Kentucky Air National Guard, who will provide the Thunderbirds with complete support during the April 18 air show, according to Maj. Scott Petz, the team's advance pilot and narrator.

Petz promises an exciting show.

"We're looking forward to bringing the whole crew -- 60-plus personnel and eight high-performance F-16 aircraft," he said. During the show, "six aircraft will fly within 18 inches of one another in a diamond formation, and two opposing soloists perform high-speed passes."

"It's going to be a great show."

While the Thunderbirds will serve as the marquee act this year, Thunder Over Louisville continues to feature a wide range of civilian and military aircraft, said Mike Riordan, the show's air boss.

Those aircraft include a T-28 "warbird" demo team called the Trojan Horsemen, and multiple vintage World War II-era planes. Other acts scheduled to perform include the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute demonstration team and the U.S. Marine Corps Harrier Demo Team.

"A lot of people don't realize how big (Thunder Over Louisville) has become," Riordan said. "It's the fifth-largest air show in the country and draws up to 500,000 spectators every year."

This year's event, themed "Boom with a View," is the 26th Thunder Over Louisville. The Thunderbirds last appeared here in 1997.