LANCASTER – With the arrival of the USAF Thunderbirds at Fox Airfield on Thursday, organizers of the Los Angeles County Air Show hosted a media preview of this weekend’s highly-anticipated air performance.
After performing several flybys and synchronized maneuvers over the airfield in his Lockheed Martin F-16D Fighting Falcon, USAF Thunderbird advance pilot Maj. Joshua Boudreaux spoke briefly with The AV Times on what folks should expect at this weekend’s air spectacular.
Maj. Boudreaux, originally of Covington, La., said the Thunderbirds’ 45-minute performance over the airfield will “demonstrate the power of modern-day fighter aircraft that the United States Air Force flies, the discipline that is required to fly and maintain those aircraft, and additionally, the precision and attention to detail that you must have when you fly.”
But what the 33-year-old USAF pilot looks forward to the most this weekend, he said, is “talking to the people who come out to the air show and telling them a little about the U.S. Air Force story.”
Part of his own story involves the intense and ongoing preparation that goes into an air performance. Boudreaux said a training period leading up to performance – like this weekend’s – is about three months long, flying twice a day, every single day, where the Thunderbirds prepare for every maneuver they plan to fly.
“And then doing it at such a proficiency, and consistency, that we know exactly what’s going on, not only with our own jet, but also with the jet next to us,” he said. “And Thunderbird One, the leader, is communicating when he’s turning, when he’s pulling power, adding power, when he’s increasing the G (-force) – everything is communicated.”
Boudreaux said that safety is first and foremost on everyone’s minds when planning and preparing for their air shows, especially when the team is flying as fast as 650 mph at 200 feet above the crowd.
“When you do that, there is extremely low margin for error,” he said. “So when we are flying, we’re looking at very precise points that we’re lining up on the other aircraft that we’re flying next to, to ensure that we maintain one, safety, and second of all, the precision element as we approach the crowd.”
In addition to the USAF Thunderbirds Jet Demonstration Team, the air show will feature a variety of other aviation performances, including the U.S. Marine Corps Harrier Jump Jet, along with world-renowned aerobatic performers, warbirds and vintage aircraft.
Visitors may also explore static aircraft displays, meet with pilots and crew members, while interacting with STEM educational exhibits that promote opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Tickets for general admission to the Air Show are $20 for adults (ages 13 and up), and $15 for youth (ages 6-12). Parking is $10.
The Los Angeles County Air Show takes place March 21-22 at General William J. Fox Airfield, located at 4555 W Avenue G in Lancaster. For more information, a schedule of events, or to purchase tickets, visit www.lacountyairshow.com.
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