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Aviation History And Aircraft Photography

Thunderbirds Diamond Formation

Airplane Photo

  • Type:   Lockheed (General Dynamics) F-16C Fighting Falcon
  • Venue:   Williams Gateway Airport
  • Location:   Mesa, Arizona
  • Date:  
  • Camera:   Minolta 7000i w/150-300mm Zoom
  • Film:   Fuji ASA 100 Color Print Film
  • Full Size Photo (~250kb)

This photo is the US Air Force ‘Thunderbirds’ Air Demonstration Squadron in their famous 4-ship diamond formation. The Navy team, the ‘Blue Angels’, claim that they fly closer and tighter formations, but I don't see how any 4 jets could be in a tighter and more square formation than these four ‘Fighting Falcons’. If I recall correctly, this was the first year that the Thunderbirds flew the F-16C, having been the last unit in the USAF to convert out of the F-16A/B. These F-16's can be converted back to combat ready aircraft in 72 hours, and the pilots are required to maintain their combat readiness during their tour with the Thunderbirds.

This photo was taken at the Phoenix 500 air races, which were held annually for 3 years in the early 1990's. The location is the Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona, which is the former Williams Air Force Base.

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
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