The U.S. Thunderbirds have touched down for the 50th celebration of the Abbotsford International Airshow and they intend that waiting fans have a blast.
Capt. Blaine Jones, who is the opposing solo pilot and flies the No. 6 jet for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, said the team was honoured to be part of the airshow's golden anniversary.
"Every airshow is special and everywhere we go, we try to make it the best we can," said Jones on the tarmac at the Abbotsford International Airport on Thursday.
"But to be able to be here on the 50th anniversary is really incredible."
In fact, next year will be the 60th anniversary of the ambassadors in blue who have been showcasing the skill, precision and professionalism of American airmen since 1953.
Crowds and fans at the Abbotsford Airshow can expect a lot of noise and fun from the squad that performs routines that showcase both the skill of the fighter pilots, and the top capabilities of their F-16 Fighting Falcons, said Jones.
Six jets take part in the demonstration, often flying in diamond formation in tight proximity to one another before undertaking a host of precision aerobatics.
The two solo pilots on the team are also on hand to provide people with an understanding of the firepower of the F-16s, the Air Force's premier multi-role fighter.
"The two solos provide the maximum performance, the high impact stuff," said Jones.
"So you get grace on one side, and a rock and roll show on the other."
The Falcons are the workhorse of the Air Force, can carry an array of weapons and have a top speed of Mach 2.
"That's twice the speed of sound or approximately 1,400 miles per hour (2,240 km/h)," said Jones.
Beyond displaying the prowess of the aircraft and the pilots, the Thunderbirds aim to please the fans and work hard to leave them gasping in astonishment, said Jones.
"I'm sweating when I get down, and hopefully the crowd is too."