Taking wing | TheUnion.com

Taking wing

With their red, white and blue noses, the Air Force Thunderbird planes flew as elegantly as they looked, showing off their precision Thursday morning maneuvers over Nevada skies.

The Air Force demonstration squad of F-16 Fighting Falcons came to Beale Air Force Base this week for Air Force Week and will perform at the California Capital Airshow this weekend.

“The California connection to the U.S. Air Force is huge,” said Brig. Gen. H.D. Polumbo Jr., explaining that the largest percentage of airmen in the Air Force come from California.

Air Force week, which runs through Sunday, celebrates the accomplishments of airmen and women and gives the public a chance to preview some the world’s most advanced fighter jets.

During an event on Thursday, airmen and women from the 940th Air Refueling Wing at Beale flew a local air-to-air refueling mission near the California-Nevada state line.

Four jets approached the KC-135 Stratotanker in diamond formation and then fell away before the refueling exercise. Three Thunderbirds following behind quickly caught up with the rest of the team.

One by one, all seven jets pulled up to the air tanker and gassed up with about 2,000 pounds of fuel.

Lying on his stomach in the “boom pit,” as the refueling cockpit is called, Staff Sgt. Jason Taylor operated the controls calmly, seemingly impervious to the high altitudes.

“After a lot of practice, it’s not too bad,” said Taylor.


To contact Staff Writer Jill Bauerle, e-mail jillb@theunion.com or call 477-4219.

WHAT: California Capital Air Show

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10; gates open at 10 a.m. both days

ADMISSION: Tickets cost $11 in advance or $15 at the gate

INFORMATION: Call (916)875-7077 or go towww.californiacapitalairshow.com/

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