25 Minutes with the USAF Thunderbirds

The USAF Thunderbirds were in town to perform the pre-race flyover for the Daytona 500. During a brief break of on track action I headed over to the Daytona Beach Airport for a quick media event with the pilots and support crew. We only had about 25 minutes to talk to the crew and take photos before the pilots had to head off to their post flight debrief.

The Thunderbirds took off from Daytona International Airport to make practice runs for their pre-race Daytona 500 flyover. While in the air they also made the short trip over to Kennedy Space Center for a few flyovers of the Space Shuttle Discovery sitting on the launch pad for the final time.

The  Thunderbirds fly in their trademark “Delta” Formation over the Daytona International Speedway.

A pilot stands infront of a Thunderbird F-16

After each flight the Thunderbirds are meticulously cleaned and inspected.

A team member inspects the air intake before climbing in for a more thorough look.

Thunderbird #3 sits on the tarmac with the Daytona International Speedway in the background.

A detailed look at the nose of one of the Thunderbirds F-16’s

The Thunderbirds perform the flyover after completion of the National Anthem shortly before the start of the Daytona 500.

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