Check out these stunning photos of Air Force Thunderbirds soaring over Arizona's iconic Lake Powell

US Air ForceUS Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Arizona’s Lake Powell reservoir on September 10, 2018.

The Frontiers and Flight air show was held at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas in early September. The crowd was treated to demonstrations of 70 military and civilian aircraft, including B-2 stealth bombers, A-10 Warthogs, KC-135 Stratotankers, and more.

The air show also included a demonstration of six F-16 Thunderbirds.

After the show, the Thunderbirds flew back home to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, soaring over Lake Powell reservoir near the Grand Canyon in Arizona along the way.

And the pictures are stunning.

Check them out below.


Activated in 1953, Thunderbirds are the US Air Force’s Air Demonstration Squadron that performs precision aerial maneuvers for audiences all over the world.

US Air ForceThe Thunderbirds fly over the Glen Canyon Dam in Lake Powell on September 10, 2018.

The Thunderbirds squadron consists of eight pilots (six of whom are demonstration pilots), four support officers, three civilians and more than 130 enlisted personnel.

US Air ForceThunderbirds fly in formation over Lake Powell on September 10, 2018.

The squadron flies F-16Cs and F-16Ds with unique red, white and blue paint jobs.

US Air ForceThunderbirds soar over Lake Powell on September 10, 2018.

Read more about the specifications of F-16Cs and F-16Ds here


But when the Thunderbirds were first activated, they flew F-84s. The squadron then switched to F-100s, and then several others, before adopting the F-16 in 1992.

US Air ForceThunderbirds leave contrails behind while flying over Lake Powell on September 10, 2018.

More specifically, the Thunderbirds first flew F-84F Thunderjets, which were combat-fighter bombers that flew missions during the Korean War.

F-100 Super Sabres, which the Thunderbirds switched to in 1956, were the world’s first supersonic fighter jets.


The Thunderbird F-16s also have a smoke generator where the jet’s 20mm gun normally would be.

US Air ForceThunderbirds fly over a river in Lake Powell on September 10, 2018.

Thunderbird demonstrations involve about 30 different maneuvers using one or more F-16s.

US Air ForceUS Air Force Thunderbirds conduct a photo op over Lake Powell while returning from McConnell Air Force Base, September 10, 2018.

Read more about their maneuvers here.


They also fly in several different formations, including the delta formation below.

US Air ForceThunderbirds fly in delta formation over Lake Powell on September 10, 2018.

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