A Thunderbird performance displays the pride, precision and professionalism of the team while highlighting the skills and training indicative of all members of the U.S. Air Force. Years of training and a lifetime of dreaming are brought together in the hour-long demonstration, exhibiting what the Air Force is all about.
Showcasing the utmost professionalism and the esprit de corps shared by our enlisted members, the sharp movements and rhythm of the showline embody the ground ceremony. As the jets take to the skies, the maneuvers flown demonstrate the awesome capabilities and skills that all fighter pilots must possess. From the loops and rolls to the formation flying and high-speed passes – these are just a small example of what is required of every combat aviator.
The demonstration is a mix of six aircraft performing formation flying and solo routines. The four-ship Diamond formation demonstrates the precision and training of Air Force pilots, as well as the gracefulness of the F-16. The two solos display the power and maximum capabilities of the mighty F-16 Fighting Falcon, a front-line fighter.
Firebirds Xtreme are a Nationally and Internationally renowned Aerobatics team. Members Jack Knutson and Rob Holland thrill crowds from around the world with their breath taking stunts, and precision formation flying. The 2 ship Formation Act, rightfully titled “The Firebirds X-treme” is a site to be seen. Jack Knutson in his Extra 300/s and Rob Holland in his MXS-RH have created an extremely high-energy, non-stop, two-ship performance that combines the precision of formation aerobatics with radical gyroscopic tumbles and heart stopping head-on maneuvers. Combined with professionally choreographed music and cockpit narration makes this show a great crowd pleaser.
4ce Formation Aerobatics
The 4CE is a 4 ship formation aerobatic team flown by Matt Chapman in lead, Jack Knutson on left wing, Rob Holland on right wing and Bill Stein in the slot. The four aerobatics stars have combined their talents to form one of the newest and most exciting formation teams in aviation.
The Infamous GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team is a flight squadron of six vintage WWII airplanes performing precision flight maneuvers at select airshows across the US. The diverse flying expertise of the team members aligns perfectly with the unique components of their overall performance. They are the only civilian squadron currently appearing at airshows and flying WWII aircraft, the SNJ-2. Of the 11 remaining SNJ-2 airplanes still in existence, the team uses six of these. The team performs a low level precision formation flying routine combined with a thrilling aeronautical demonstration highlighting the unique capabilities of the aircraft while adding a richness to the history of aviation and its core foundation. In addition, GEICO Skytypers are often found typing messages utilizing the horizon as a back drop. These messages can be as tall as the empire state building and visible for up to 15 miles away.
Lucas Oil Skydivers
The Lucas Oil Skydivers are a precision skydiving team. Nick Halseth is Lead Jumper; he also works as a freefall videographer and Cirrus parachute packer with three saves. The other skydivers include Luke Evens who is a sky-dive instructor and videographer when he isn’t jumping, instructor and tandem instructor Ryan Albrecht, medical device engineer and jump instructor Andy Junghans, and mechanical engineer-inventor-author Jim Skakoon. Halseth, Junghans, and Skakoon are gold medal winners. The show features the American Flag, MAV TV, and Lucas Oil parachutes in a series of breathtaking jumps.
Sponsored Mike found his passion for aviation at the age of 10 after his Dad took him to his first Air Show. At the age of 14, Mike took a job at the airport washing airplanes and cleaning hangars just to be around airplanes. Later, he traded his work for flying lessons and received his Pilots License on his 17th birthday. Mike’s been flying ever since.
Thirty years later, Mike has accumulated more than 20,000 hours of flight time of which at least 2,000 hours is aerobatics. Since that day Mike saw his first air show, he has followed his dream to fly aerobatics and now for more than a decade, Mike has entertained audiences throughout the world with his air show performances.
Mike’s performance has been described as aggressive, extreme aerobatics where he hangs his plane right on the edge of it’s limitations. With lots of smoke and a loud throaty engine, he climbs and tumbles his Plane seemingly out of control, only to dive for the ground and pull up again for the next outrageous maneuver. At a youthful age of 47, Mike has the experience and personality that fits perfect as an extreme sports entertainer.
Sponsored by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Matt is recognized as an extraordinary aerobatic pilot who thrills millions of air show fans each summer. He began flying aerobatics in 1984 and quickly worked his way up to the highest level of competition aerobatics – the Unlimited category. Recognized for his skills, he won one of only five slots on the U.S. Unlimited Men’s Aerobatic Team in 1996 and 1998.
At the 1998 World Aerobatic Championships, Matt was the highest-ranking American pilot, finishing third in the world with a bronze medal. He led the Men’s Team to a silver medal. Along with this impressive finish came the coveted Hilliard Trophy, awarded to the highest finishing U.S. pilot at the WAC.
Matt also won the prestigious International Aerobatic Club Championships in 1994 and the Fond du Lac Cup in 1995. Matt has flown in front of millions of fans at air shows all over. He has appeared on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports Network, Real TV, The Learning Channel’s “Amazing America,” and SpeedVision.
“How did he do that?” When you experience the thrill of watching Rob Holland fly, that is exactly what you will be asking yourself. Millions of people have marveled over Rob’s non-stop, action-packed air show routine. Stepping off his Gold Metal Finish at the 8th World Advanced Aerobatic Championships, Rob brings a whole new and exciting set of world-class maneuvers to his routine this year.
Flying the MX2 Aerobatic Aircraft by MX Aircraft Ultimate Airshows brings unrivaled performance in the sky over America’s best air shows. Rob Holland pushes the envelope of the most advanced aerobatic aircraft in the airshow industry today. With a high-energy mixture of both high and low altitude maneuvers, Rob will delight and amaze your audience while remaining well within his high margin of safety.
Rob’s infectious, upbeat, and approachable demeanor makes him a favored crowd-pleaser at air shows. His complete love of aviation is immediately apparent to everyone who meets him. Rob hopes to instill into others his insatiable desire to excel and for them to actively pursue their goals and dreams.
To Patty Wagstaff the sky represents adventure, freedom, and challenge. A six-time member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team, Patty has won the gold, silver, and bronze medals in Olympic-level international aerobatic competitions. She is the first woman to win the title of U.S. National Aerobatic Champion and one of the few people to win it three times.
Patty flies one of the most thrilling, low-level aerobatic demonstrations in the world. Flying before millions of people each year, her breathtaking performances give air show spectators a front-row seat view of the precision and complexity of modern, unlimited hard-core aerobatics. Her smooth aggressive style sets the standard for performers the world over. Patty has to be seen to be believed.
Scooter Yoak Quick Silver P-51 Mustang
The Quick Silver P-51 Mustang, flown by pilot Scott “Scooter” Yoak, is a celebration of our nation’s armed forces. Every aspect of this fine machine represents those individuals who have served and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Bill Yoak, an individual with a love and passion for this type of aircraft, built Quick Silver from more than 200 Mustang parts and projects.
The remanufactured parts are handmade, made with the skill and care of a master craftsman, showing the utmost attention to detail necessary to restore this Mustang to a condition better than when it was factory-new in 1945. This plane illustrates the love and passion this family has for our service men and women and the veterans who protected our freedom and country. As this silver bird quickly streaks across the sky, let us not forget those who served, sacrificed, and gave their all.
Jim Tobul F4U-4 Corsair
This 1945 F4U-F, deemed the “Korean War Hero” is flown by Jim Tobul. This remarkable plane still bears its marks of history – three combat flak repair patches on the starboard wing and the rear fuselage. Jim Tobul has piloted this plane in many airshows across the country for everyone to experience it’s beauty and talent. In 2011 at the Sun ‘N Fun airshow in Lakeland Florida, Jim Tobul was awarded Grand Champion post World War II for his restoration of this remarkable aircraft.
The Chance Vought F4Uwas deemed the Korean War Hero for it’s record as being the first American fighter aircraft to be recognized by the Japanese as being a formidable adversary in World War II. It’s superiority over the Japanese aircraft and being the first American fighter that exceeded 400 mph, are why it has earned its place in the history books.
In 1981 Jim and Joe Tobul brought it home and began its restoration. After 10 years, it hit the skies in Pittsburgh first and then now resides in South Carolina. Jim has been performing and displaying this plane for enthusiasts and history buffs across the United States.
Gene McNeely T-6 Aerobatics
Gene became interested in flying in high school. Afterwards, he served a tour in the Navy. Gene then began flight instructing and crop dusting. Gene operated his own agricultural business for over twenty years as well as an air cargo service operating DC-3s and MU-2s. Gene’s favorite aircraft is the T-6. Gene will be flying his T-6 Texan trainer from World War 2.
Gene is a world-renowned airshow performer, known both for his superb flying skills with the award-winning Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and his high energy, superb solo routines.In addition to performing air shows, Gene races in a T-6 at the Reno Air Races and has been finishing in the top five since 1986.
Paul Schulten Eagle Aerobatics
Paul’s experimental category Eagle was built by Pete Gnaedinger of Glide Aero in 2001. This high-energy, twisting, turning and looping solo act will definitely have you counting the number of rolls, loops and maneuvers.
Paul grew up with aviation in his life from early on. His father was an Air Force pilot and a career airline pilot. Paul obtained his ratings mostly in college, and after graduating flew everything he could, from traffic patrol to flight instructing, night freight and commuters before landing a job with a major airline.
Paul has flown since the age of 19 and has over 20,000 hours of flight time in a wide variety of aircraft including gliders, most general aviation planes, as well as the DC-3, business jets, and the 737 and DC-9. Paul now flies for Southwest Airlines, and has been with Southwest for 21 years. In 2008, Paul decided to pursue a lifetime dream and purchased his 2001 Christen Eagle to pursue flying aerobatics.
Sonny Everett, Master of Ceremonies
M. A. “Sonny” Everett is an American aviator, author and broadcaster, including color commentary, announcing of airshows and special events. Sonny’s broadcasting career began in 1960 as a summer high school job at WCRV in New Jersey. His first airshow announcing duties came in 1963 at North Philadelphia Airport (PNE) at the age of 17.
Combining his broadcast abilities with an inherent knowledge of aviation, Sonny became the USA’s foremost color-commentator of airshows and aviation events throughout the Seventie’s, Eightie’s and Ninetie’s. As background,he produced the famous Bicentennial barnstorming troupe called “Air Show America“, featuring aviation notables Bill Barber, “Big Ed” Mahler (Mennen Special) and then newcomer Leo Loudenslager in a two-hour choreographed-to-music airshow re-creating those of Hollywood combined with the reality of the 1920s–1930s. Sonny remains in demand for airshows and aviation events.
Sonny authored the coffee-table book Fliers, published in 1987, a photo-history of airshows from the barnstormer days through modern times. He has often been a guest on numerous TV and radio talk shows, and serves as an expert commentator on aviation safety matters.
Sonny appeared several times on TV’s Mike Douglas Show and was featured in a principal acting role in the films Cloud Dancer (1980) starring David Carradine and Oscar-winner Jennifer O-Neill, and was a stunt performer in Moving Violations (1986) starring Sally Kellerman and Robert Conrad.
As a pilot Sonny has accrued several thousand flying hours in over 60 types of aircraft, from gliders to cropdusters to widebody Boeing jetliners. He has served on the ALPA Air Safety & Accident Investigation committee and developed audio/visual training programs for pilots during a 30 year career with USAirways (formerly Allegheny Airlines).
As of April 2010, Sonny contributes to and announces for charitable special events and can be heard on WZCC radio in the Ocala-Gainesville market (#82). Sonny resides in Citrus County, FLA and devotes much of his time to music and writing for a variety of aviation journals.