Thursday, December 8, 2011

USAF Thunderbirds Perform at SnF 2012

For more information contact:
James Bernegger
      Director, Corporate Marketing and Communications
     863-644-2431 x112

December 7, 2011

SUN 'n FUN CAMPUS, LAKELAND, FL. – The United States Air Force (USAF) Thunderbirds military jet demonstration team announced today that the SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In & Expo has been selected  as a general aviation event venue on the 2012 Thunderbirds appearance schedule. The announcement was made today at the International Council of Airshows (ICAS) Convention currently underway in Las Vegas, NV.  The 2012 SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In & Expo will be held March 27-April 1 on its campus at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida.

"SUN 'n FUN is honored and excited to hear that the world recognized military jet team – the Thunderbirds – has included our event on their 2012 schedule," said SUN 'n FUN President and CEO, John "Lites" Leenhouts.  "Their participation will headline our 2012 event adding to the exciting array of aircraft and activities already planned for our 38th annual celebration.  We are delighted that the Thunderbirds will return to the skies over Lakeland, knowing the remarkable impact their appearance made on all our guests and friends throughout Polk and Hillsborough Counties in 2008 and 2010. The Thunderbirds plan to arrive at SUN 'n FUN during the second half of the six day SUN 'n FUN event.  They may engage in individual media flights and a team training flight prior to their scheduled performances on Saturday and Sunday, March 31 & April 1.

Advanced discounted ticket packages to SUN 'n FUN are available on the SUN 'n FUN website at

According to the U.S. Air Force, the Thunderbirds (officially named the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron) perform precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of Air Force high-performance aircraft to people throughout the world. The Thunderbirds squadron is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots (including six demonstration pilots), four support officers, three civilians and more than 130 enlisted personnel performing in 25 career fields. The air demonstration is a combination of  formation flying and solo routines.

The four-aircraft "Diamond Formation" demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the solo aircraft highlights the maximum capabilities of the F-16 "Fighting Falcon," the fighter jet employed by the Thunderbird team.

 The Thunderbirds perform approximately 30 maneuvers during their demonstration. The entire Thunderbird performance, including ground and air routines, runs about an hour and fifteen minutes.

In addition to their responsibilities as the official U.S. Air Force aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds are part of America's active combat force. f required, the team's personnel and aircraft can be quickly integrated into a fighter unit at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, where the F-16s can be made combat-ready in less than 72 hours.

SUN 'n FUN, a 501(c) (3) not–for–profit organization based in Lakeland, Florida, is best known for its annual International Fly–In & Expo.  The Fly-In event is the primary source of funding for an expanding menu of year–round, aviation-oriented education programs offered through the Florida Air Museum (FAM).  FAM is a separate 501(c) (3) not–for–profit organization that was named the state's "Official Aviation Museum and Education Center" by the Florida legislature in 2003.  FAM has initiated education programs for aviation enthusiasts of all ages – especially young people – featuring valuable "hands on" learning experiences primarily through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives.  SUN 'n FUN and FAM provide ongoing support to the Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA), a high school career academy located on the SUN 'n FUN campus that was created in partnership with the Polk County School Board, Polk State College, the University of South Florida Polytechnic, Gulf Coast Avionics and other education-minded organizations. A growing scholarship program provides financial support to ensure these education programs are accessible to all. For more information lease visit

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Sun 'n Fun and the Florida Air Museum - 4175 Medulla Road, Lakeland, FL, 33811, United States

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