Air Force Thunderbirds certified for 2022 show season

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Breanna Carter
  • Air Force Thunderbirds
The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, known as the “Thunderbirds,” recently completed their certification for the 2022 show season. 
The Air Force Thunderbirds will be featured performers during the Great Texas Airshow at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph April 23-24. The free show begins at 11 a.m. and wraps up at 4:30 p.m. each day.
Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, certified the Thunderbirds after a rigorous four-month training season. This certification ensures the safety of the team and the maneuvers.
“The experience gained through the new training syllabus and training trip … it shows,” Kelly said. “I am proud to announce the official certification of the Thunderbirds for the 2022 season.” 
Beginning in 2020, the team adopted a driven “accelerate change or lose” mentality, culminating in significant improvements to the demonstration and the training syllabus. 
The 2022 team executed the new training syllabus for the first time this year, exercising all parts of the team – logistics, maintenance, public affairs, and show center operations – at multiple training sites, including its first full six-ship show, complete with music and narration. 
The new training syllabus, combined with training at multiple deployed locations, allowed the team to reach their 50th practice show on March 10, approximately 25 full practice shows ahead of schedule. 
“This is a culmination of all of our hard work through an unprecedented winter training deployment and today’s certification demonstration would not have been possible if we hadn’t seen similar challenging situations in Spaceport and Fort Huachuca,” said Lt. Col. Justin Elliott, Thunderbirds commander/leader. “From a whole-team perspective, this is the most prepared Thunderbirds squadron in generations. 
“We have to continue driving forward from here; to continue building on this team’s 68.5 years of excellence in the name of service to something greater than ourselves.” 

The Thunderbirds, the Air Force's flight demonstration squadron, practice during the team's inaugural winter training trip at Spaceport America, Truth or Consequences, N.M., Jan. 20, 2021. The event provides the team a month of airshow practice in different conditions and terrains.