USAF Thunderbirds - Marc Schultz Aviation Photography

The USAF Thunderbirds at RIAT 2017

The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron "Thunderbirds" returned to RIAT 2017 after 10 years, taking part in the celebrations to mark the 70th birthday of the USAF. 

A Thunderbirds display is a stunning experience of formation flying and solo manouvers. The official mission statement reads as follows: "The four-jet diamond formation demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the lead and opposing solo aircraft highlight some of the maximum capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The pilots perform approximately 40 maneuvers in a demonstration. The entire show, including the ground show and air demonstration, lasts about 75 minutes." The team performs no more than 80 air displays per year and has never canceled a show due to technical issues. Over 280 million people in all 50 US-states and 57 foreign countries have seen the Thunderbirds in more than 3,500 demonstration sessions.

For additional information on the team  visit