Kirby’s aerobatic technique has amazed many through out the years. He has always
said that if he can show people something they have never seen before then he
has done his job. While he makes his skills look easy, they don’t always start
out that way! After an idea comes to mind, Kirby heads to the plane to test,
flying at a much higher altitude for safety purposes. However, not all ideas
make the final cut; while a certain skill may feel great from the plane, it
doesn’t always look that way from the ground. Members of the team stand below
and film to help Kirby make this judgment.When satisfied with the overall idea
and look of a new skill, Kirby then practices to perfect it. He progressively
flies lower and lower as he becomes more comfortable, pushing the limits and
increasing intensity! After this process, the skill is now complete; the only
thing left is to show it off!
The Red Bull Air Force – consisting of four exceptionally gifted aerial acrobats -show which possibilities the playground of the third dimension offers. This show builds up the extra rush for sports events, concerts, business parties or product presentations. No matter if day or night, over land or water – with breath taking light and smoke effects this action is a perfect highlight for special occasions.
Gregory “Wired” Colyer took his first flight at age 7 in a Cessna 172 with Dr. Lee Schaller out of the Schellville airport in Sonoma, California. Hooked ever since, Greg has been flying for almost 3 decades after earning his license in 1982 while serving in the US Army from 1982-1987. His passion for the cockpit never left him as he continued to fly as a hobby and an occasional airshow. After flying with his friend Kay Eckhart, in one of his Lockheed T-33s in 2007, Greg set his sights on an upgrade to the U.S. Air Force’s first operational jet and a real piece of U.S. aviation history, acquiring a T-33 and naming it Ace Maker in 2008. Greg holds a Commercial Pilot certificate with instrument, single and multi engine ratings as well as being a Certified Flight Instructor. Type rated in Aero Vodochody’s L-29 Delfin, L-39 Albatros and the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. A level I Aerobatic low level card and FAST lead formation card round out his qualifications.
Lockheed T-33/Canadair CT-33 Specifications:
Engine: Allison J-33/Rolls Royce Nene 10
Power: 5200/5400 lbs thrust
Max Speed: 505 kts/.80M
Ceiling: 45,000 ft
Range: 1350 nm
Length: 37′ 8″
Height: 11′ 8″
Wing Span: 42’5″ w/tip tanks
Max weight: 16,800 lbs
Max Fuel: 677 imp/810 U.S. gallons
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.
The Super Chipmunk -GhostWriter
Originally designed as a trainer for the Royal Canadian Air Force, our 1956 deHavilland Chipmunk has been specially modified for Airshow aerobatics and Skywriting. Nearly 3,000 man-hours over a two year period were spent on developing the GhostWriter into the finest example of a Super Chipmunk. It now boasts a cruising speed of 150mph, and a range of more than 500 miles. It will climb at a rate of 2,500 feet per minute, with a ceiling of 17,500 feet.
If you recognize the airplane, that’s no surprise. GhostWriter developed a well established career in the Airshow and Skywriting industry as the Pepsi SkyDancer for 25 years. In 2016 Nathan K. Hammond took the controls and has been captivating audiences with the smooth lines and raw horsepower of the unparalleled Super Chipmunk ever since.
Pilot Nathan K. Hammond
Nathan joined SkyDancer Airshows in 1998, quickly learning the techniques and nuances of Skywriting and Airshow flying. Today, Nathan flies the Super Chipmunk, the GhostWriter, in both daytime and nighttime airshows; as well as skywriting across the nation. The passion of flying was instilled into Nathan from his earliest days. Born and raised in Rhinebeck, New York; the airplanes and airshows of Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome started his flying career. Soloing an airplane at age 16, earning his pilot’s license at 17; Nathan has logged over 7,000 hours flight time, from 1917 Curtiss Jenny’s to Cessna Citations. Along with being a Commercial rated pilot, he also maintains an Airframe and Power Plant Mechanics License.
Wings of Freedom, founded by Mr. Chuck Miller, is dedicated to providing a collection of flyable warbirds that played a role in shaping Alaska’s aviation heritage. Housed in a WW-II era hangar at Merrill Field, Wings of Freedom will be providing a T-6 and L-13 at Arctic Thunder 2016. Wings of Freedom had previously been the home of one of the world’s last remaining Mitsubishi Zero, which flew in the 2012 Arcitc Thunder Air Show as well as in the 2013 Alaska Aviation Centennial Celebration.
The AT-6 Texan is a single-engine, advanced trainer aircraft used during WWII. The prototype first flew in 1935, and the first models were put into production in 1937. More than 17,000 were built. The aircraft being flow at Arctic thunder was built in 1943, and is in the Aleutian colors of aircraft flying there in WWII.
The L-13A was manufactured by Consolidated Vultee, and first flown in 1945. It was used for observation, liaison, and air ambulance duties. Like the L-2, man were later converted for civilian use in the Alaska bush.
The Super Cub is one of the most popular aircraft in all of Alaska and is well suited for the variety of conditions and rugged terrain encountered in rural and remote areas of the State. The plane is known for its incredible short take-off and landing capabilities, and is the star of the Valdez Fly-in, held in May. For Arctic Thunder 2016, we are privileged to have Mr. Bob Breeden and Mr. Hank Swan. Bob Breeden is the record holder, landing his Super Cub in a world record 20 feet, and a take-off distance of 24 feet. Hank flies an experimental hot rod Super Cub called “Got Rocks” and is making his second appearance at Arctic Thunder. They will be joined by a 1941 L-1 aircraft and the L-13 for a joint civilian and military short field take-off and landing.
The Commemorative Air Force was founded in 1957 and chartered as a non-profit in 1961 to restore, preserve, operate and maintain WWII-era aircraft. The CAF also provides museums to protect and display aircraft, as well as to perpetuate their memory and heritage. The Alaska Wing is dedicated to preserving the military heritage of Alaskan aviation, and flies the bright yellow AT-6 Harvard Mk IV, the yellow and blue BT-13, and the L-2 Grasshopper. The Harvard MkIIB was built under license in Montreal for the Royal Canadian Air Force, the RAF and the USAAF, with a total of 2,557 built. The Harvard was known to fly to Annette Island in Alaska during WWII, where Canadian units were stationed, adding strength to the 11th Air Force. The BT-13 was first flown in 1939, and was the WWII-era basic trainer flown by most pilots. Pilots would graduate to the advanced trainer, the AT-6, prior to being assigned to their main fighter aircraft or bomber. The L-2 Grasshopper was manufactured by Taylorcraft beginning in 1941 and was used an observation aircraft during WW-II to spot enemy troops and supplies, as well as direct artillery fire. After WWII, many aircraft were converted to civilian use and flown around bush Alaska.