Friday, July 7, 2017


On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the Cherry Festival hosted an air show featuring the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.  The name Thunderbirds was influenced by the strong Native American culture and folklore of the American southwest.

In mythology, a thunderbird is a supernatural being of power and strength.  One is emblazoned on the underside of each plane.

The flying team is aptly named because when they were in the air you felt their power as they thundered overhead.

Flying in tight formation, they begin their tilt, tipping their left wing downward.

Maintaining their tight formation, they tilt further until that are flying perpendicular to the ground, one wing pointing straight up, the other straight down.

They keep the roll going until they are nearly upside down.

And then you get the big show.  They continue the roll until they are flying completely upside down, making their thunderbird symbols completely visible.

Upright again, they roar back with their jet vapor trails obscuring portions of their planes.

And suddenly, there are six, all flying in tight formation.

And they continue in tight formation until they are completely flying upside down too.  Imagine.  Six of them instead of four.

As they did with four jets, they broadcast their flying Thunderbirds on six underbellies.  It was quite the show.  I remember as a kid singing the Air Force song:

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder
At 'em boys, Give 'er the gun!
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!

As I was writing this, I wondered why I'd sing such a song.  But I did a little googling and discovered this song originally belonged to the Army Air Corps.  And that's the branch that was the precursor to the Air Force.  It's also where my father served in during WW2.  No wonder it was sung in our household.



  1. Exciting captures of the Thunderbirds' various formations, Karen.
    I can almost hear their thunder as they zoom overhead!

  2. Thanks, Jan. Believe me, it was like thunder! Fun to feel their power, though.