Thunderbirds excited to fly over Fraser Valley at Abbotsford airshow

Members of U.S. Air Force aerial performance troupe visited town to scope out the airfield

Two members of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds say they’re excited to be flying in the Abbotsford International Airshow in August, with plenty to see from the Fraser Valley skies.

Thunderbird 8 pilot Maj. Jason Markzon and crew chief TSgt. Zachary Jones were in Abbotsford Tuesday to scope out the airfield, something the Thunderbirds do every five years or if there are significant changes at show sites.

Markzon said the pair were going to be getting a tour of the city from airshow officials.

Neither of the two men were part of the Thunderbirds, which involves two- to three-year terms, when the crew was last here in 2012, and Markzon said he’s looking forward to flying around the area.

“That team is long gone by this point,” Markzon said.

The pair arrived to sunnier weather on Monday, but got to experience the rain coast in full Tuesday as they prepared to tour the city.

“I’m really excited to fly around here because there’s some good terrain to look at and it’s very green and there’s a beautiful lake. So it’s pretty awesome,” Markzon said.

“We’re going to be bringing about 70 personnel down here. Most of that’s going to be on our maintenance side. So you’ll see some of the pride and professionalism that goes into maintaining our jets and making sure everything looks good. We’ll have our [Thunderbirds] one through six, which are our demo pilots, who will be executing our demonstrations.”

That includes Thunderbirds 1-4, the team’s “diamond pilots,” who will be showing off “a little bit more of the gracefulness of the F-16 and show you what it takes to have the precision of flying in that close of formation,” Markzon said.

Thunderbirds 5 and 6 will be showing off more of the “maximum performance capabilities” of the jet, which is still in use by the U.S. Air Force for combat missions.

“On top of that, we’ll hopefully get out to the community and do some community outreach, and show Abbotsford what the Thunderbirds bring to the partnership that the U.S. and Canada have,” Markzon said.

The Thunderbirds’ show follows last year’s show by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, who fly F-18s.

“The F-18, performance-wise, can fly a little bit slower with their flight-control surfaces. For the F-16, we typically fly a bit faster, typically end up pulling a little bit more [G-force],” Markzon said.

“As far as the show goes, we both display some of the similar qualities and capabilities of precision and maximum performance capabilities.”

The Thunderbirds will be performing at the airshow on Aug. 10 and 11.

For photos of the Thunderbirds, follow @thunderbird.8 on Instagram.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Crews battle second-alarm fire at Surrey care facility

It happened at the Czorny Alzheimer Centre, in the 16800-block of 66th Avenue

2019 Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair Round-Up

Looking back on the community events, rodeo and country fair that took place over May long weekend

Cloverdale Rodeo finals hand out $330K to champion riders

Bareback rider Caleb Bennet tied the arena’s record with a 93.5-point ride Monday

‘It’s a game changer’: 15-year-old wins professional skateboarding contest on two skateboards

‘No one has ever seen it before’ said producer of Cloverdale contest

Winners to come to Semiahmoo Shopping Centre

Former Zellers to also include a gym and daycare

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

Family of B.C. pilot killed in Honduras trying to ‘piece together’ tragedy

Patrick Forseth has a number of friends in the area and was loved by everyone

Justin Trudeau credits immigration for Canada’s growing tech sector

Trudeau stressed that Canada has become a major source of talent for tech all over the world

Feds launch tourism strategy designed to boost sector 25 per cent by 2025

The fund is supposed to back experiences that show off Canada’s strengths

Man arrested after police standoff and fire at Abbotsford home

Suspect allegedly breached conditions to not be near victim or her home

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several days, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Most Read

l -->