Thunderbirds

The Air Force Thunderbirds perform a “diamond roll” maneuver during a show. The Thunderbirds are scheduled to appear at Smyrna’s Great Tennessee Air Show this weekend.

Updates with road closures list.

The Great Tennessee Air Show, widely considered one of the premiere airshows in the country, is returning to the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport on June 5 & 6.

The featured aerial team this year for the Smyrna show is the Air Force Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds are participating in 29 airshows for the 2021 season; the Great Tennessee Air Show is the eighth show in this year’s schedule.

The six-plane squadron presents precision aerial maneuvers to exhibit the capabilities of the high-performance aircraft.

The Thunderbirds fly the Lockheed Martin F-16 “Fighting Falcon,” a highly maneuverable, multi-role tactical bomber and air-to-air combat aircraft. The only changes to the F-16 for its Thunderbird role are its special, red-white-and-blue paint scheme and the removal of its 20 mm cannon (a smoke-generating system replaces that).

The Thunderbird aircraft and their crews can return to combat-ready status in less than 72 hours.

Another high-performance jet aircraft presentation in the Great Tennessee Air Show features the Navy F-35C Lightning II Demonstration Team. Also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 is the most advanced stealth fighter in the world. The “C” Model F-35 flies from Navy aircraft carriers and features a wingspan eight feet broader than the Air Force “A” Model or the Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) “B” Model used by the Marines.

The Navy F-35 team’s performance includes the simulation of a carrier landing.

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