So, for most of 2013, the USAF Thunderbirds have been doing something OTHER than flying in aerial demonstrations. (The US government implemented a sequester that limited funding across the military.) We spent most of the airshow season in Las Vegas, increasing our community relations effort. (We visited lots of schools and did charity work, etc.)
It wasn’t what we expected, but it did give Airmen the chance to be home with their families and a chance to do so many things they couldn’t do when normally traveling 220+ days a year during air show season. Still, the “good idea fairy” was working overtime, trying to help keep the squadron busy in lieu of flying.
After the infamous government shutdown of October 2013, the government announced that demonstration teams could resume in 2014. This was good news, because the good idea fairy could take a rest while the pilots returned to flying and our maintenance Airmen could resume focusing their attention on our jets.
Since then, morale has improved greatly … Not that it was ever REALLY bad, but I think most of us would admit that we had a few low points during the middle of the year. Now, it’s great to see the pilots take to the air, and I love see my Public Affairs Airmen get excited about putting together a 2014 season.
As we hit the road in 2014, I’ll try to provide a small update at each show location. Stay tuned!