Training trip brings Thunderbirds to the Southwest - Albuquerque Journal

Training trip brings Thunderbirds to the Southwest

The Thunderbirds at Spaceport America’s Horizontal Launch Area. The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, aka the Thunderbirds, kicked off its first-ever winter training trip at Spaceport America on Jan. 10, 2022. (Courtesy of Spaceport America.)

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES – The Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force’s aerial demonstration squadron, has begun a monthlong training trip to New Mexico and Arizona in preparation for its 2022 show season.

The unit based at Nellis Air Force Base in metro Las Vegas arrived last week at the New Mexico Spaceport near Truth or Consequences for two weeks of training, and will then shift to Fort Huachuca, an Army base in Sierra Vista, Arizona, for the trip’s second training leg.

bright spotThe training is not open to the public, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.

“These two locations are excellent training environments, each serving different purposes,” said Lt. Col. Justin Elliott, the Thunderbirds’ commander and leader. “The show season subjects the team to difficult and ever-changing environments, both in the air and on the ground. Training in new and different environments will allow the team to exercise the necessary muscles to ensure our demonstration is precise, despite changing conditions.”

After training in New Mexico and Arizona, the team will continue on to train with the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, at Naval Air Facility El Centro in California.

The Thunderbirds’ show schedule begins March 19 at Luke Air Force Base in metro Phoenix and ends at Nellis on Nov. 5-6.

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