The “Thunderbirds” is the United States Air Force flight demonstration squadron, with aviators from the airforce. The Thunderbirds are assigned to the 57th Wing and are based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Thunderbirds was Created 65 years ago in 1953
The Blue Angels is the United States Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, with aviators from the Navy and Marines. The Blue Angels are stationed at NAS Pensacola & NAF El Centro. The Blue Angels team was formed in 1946
What kinds of jets do they fly?
The Thunderbirds fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon while the Blue Angels fly the F/A-18 Hornet. The F-16 first entered service in 1979 while the F/A-18 first flew in 1978.
Both squadrons use “dated aircraft. F-16s each cost approximately $18.8 million while the F/A-18’s more modern version, the Super Hornet, costs about $26 million per plane
— Thunderbirds (@AFThunderbirds) April 26, 2017
What’s the mission of these squadrons?
Both squadrons’ stated mission is to showcase the aircraft of their respective services while highlighting the skills and professionalism of their pilots. They are also tasked with engaging in community outreach, bolstering military recruitment and strengthening morale and esprit de corps in the services.
Furthermore, The squadrons perform 75-minute shows, involving 40 aerial maneuvers, and will hold up to 80 shows in a “season,” which typically starts in March and ends in November.
What does it take to be a pilot?
The pilots of both squadrons have combat experience in the skies over Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. To qualify for the Blue Angels, one must be a career-oriented Navy or Marine Corps jet pilot with an aircraft carrier qualification and a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet flight hours.
The Blue Angels have 16 officers, seven of whom pilot the famed jets, and 110 enlisted support personnel. The Thunderbirds have eight pilots, including six demonstration pilots, four support officers, and more than 100 enlisted personnel.