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  • Thunderbirds Cross-Country Refueling for Daytona 500 HD / Feb 19, 2016

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    The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds headed to Florida for their first public performance of a busy 2016 for the F-16 demonstration squadron on Friday, Feb. 19. The team departed their home at Nellis AFB, NV for Daytona Beach, Fla., where they performed the National Anthem flyover at the Daytona 500 Feb 21.

    But they needed help along the way to get there (and back to Nellis Feb 22)..

    U.S. global air superiority comes thanks, in large part, to aerial refuelers, such as KC-135 Stratotankers and their crews. The birds are old, dating back to the 50’s and 60’s, but they are well maintained and have been modified heavily over the years to expand its capabilities, efficiency, safety and reliability. United States airpower simply would not be what it is today without mid-air refueling, and the Thunderbirds required two mid-air fuel stops to get cross-country for NASCAR’s Super Bowl.

    The 6th Air Mobility Wing, based out of MacDill AFB, Tampa was responsible for the mission. The tanker was loaded with 60,000 pounds of fuel for Thunderbirds 1-6, and before the sun even rose it was wheels up at 6:10 a.m. for a 7.5 hour round-trip operation to New Mexico and back, call sign “Bolt 13”.

    Photos & video copyright 2016 www.MikeKillianPhotography.com. Contact for use Show less
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