Making a return appearance from their 2014 performance, the Association is very excited to have the USAF Thunderbirds as the featured jet team for Arctic Thunder 2018
The Thunderbirds are proud to represent Air Force Airmen who make America’s Air Force the most advanced and respected air, space and cyberspace force the world has ever seen. They continually provide consistent and credible Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power, giving a critical edge to today’s joint warfighting and coalition teams. As Air Force ambassadors, the Thunderbird team strives to showcase the integrity, selfless service and excellence embodied by American Airmen everywhere.
The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron plans and presents precision aerial maneuvers to exhibit the capabilities of modern high performance aircraft and the high degree of professional skill to operate those aircraft. As Air Force ambassadors who travel the world over, the Thunderbird team strives to showcase the integrity, selfless service and excellence embodied by American Airmen everywhere.
Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver create a three-for-one extravaganza with Oregon Aero® SkyDancer, offering aerobatics, pyrobatics and skywriting with every booking. As the world’s only
husband-and-wife professional aerobatic and skywriting duo since 1980, the Olivers have distinguished themselves internationally. They received the Sword of Excellence award from the International Council of Airshows in 1999 for their extraordinary level of professionalism in the airshow industry. With Oregon Aero, Inc. as their title sponsor, they perform in airshows from Alaska to Central America, and many points in between, including Lakeland’s Sun ‘n Fun and Oshkosh’s EAA AirVenture.
The Strategic Army Command Parachute Team, or STRAC, was formed in 1959 by “Airborne” Soldiers from various military units. Brigadier General Joseph Stilwell Jr. was
responsible for gathering these Soldiers with the original intent to compete during the Cold War effort. This new U.S. All-Army team swept the international competition circuit, in what was then the Soviet dominated sport of skydiving. Later that year on November 1st, this newly formed team performed their first demonstration in Danville Virginia.
In 1961, the Department of Defense announced on June 15th, that the STRAC team would become the United States Army Parachute Team. The team is one of three authorized DoD aerial demonstration teams, along with the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels.
On October 15, 1962 the team earned the nickname the “Golden Knights.” Golden, signifying the Team’s stellar reputation of bringing home gold medals; Knights, alluding to the fact that the Team had “conquered the skies,” and portraying that members of the Team are champions of a set of ideals and principals.
Gary developed an interest in airplanes as an early teenager, soloed at age 16 in a Piper J-3 Cub and has been passionate about aviation ever since. After high school and a tour with the USAF as a jet engine mechanic, Gary graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He worked as a design engineer on the Cessna Citation for Cessna for about a year before “switching hats” to work in a family operated lumber manufacturing business.
Gary started flying airshows in 1998 in a Pitts S2-B and then flew airshows in the Giles 202 from 1999 through 2005. In 2006 he became the first pilot to fly airshows in the awesome and exciting new MX2! The MX2 is an all carbon fiber monoplane powered by a 6 cylinder Lycoming engine “pumped up” by Lycon and is truly “state of the art” in all out aerobatic aircraft.
Skip Stewart is one of the most entertaining airshow pilots in the world today. He has over eight thousand hours of flying experience, is an airline transport pilot, certified flight instructor, has owned and operated an aerobatic flight school, earned gold medals in regional aerobatic competitions, served as a chief pilot for a fortune 100 company and has spent more than ten years entertaining airshow fans around the world.
Skip practices tirelessly in the airplane he custom built himself to insure the highest level of entertainment. His flying has been featured in magazines that include Smithsonian air & Space, AOPA, Sports Illustrated, world airshow news, auto pilot as well as in multiple international publications. He is the first pilot to fly an airplane
under a jumping motorcycle at an airshow and has also been known to fill in as the driver of the “world’s fastest dodge ram jet truck!”