U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have landed in Grand Junction

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Dips, flips and a whole lot of tricks. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds landed in Grand Junction Thursday afternoon.

"There goes Thunderbird two showing off," said Lt. Col. Jason Heard.

The team has a long standing tradition.

"The Thunderbirds are a team that's been around since 1953,” said Lt. Col. Jason Heard.

This weekend the Thunderbirds are in Grand Junction for the air show.

“We’ll have up to six airplanes together doing loops, rolls, bursts," said Lt. Col. Jason Heard. "Demonstrations in these F-16, we take six of them airborne and show precise, very precise, formation aerobatics.”

The event takes flight at West Star Aviation.

"For more than 30 years," said Dave Krogman, with West Star Aviation.

The team is made up of 130 Air Force pilots.

"People have different backgrounds, but really what it takes to be a Thunderbird is a dedication to the U.S. Air Force and to your country,” said Lt. Col. Jason Heard.

The goal of the performances is to show communities what our U.S. Air Force can do. Grand Junction marks show number 32 out of 39 this year.

"One reason for air shows is to help inspire young people to become a part of the aviation community. Whether they're pilots, mechanics, avionics technicians,” said Krogman.

Each pilot has intense practice for months.

"Initially start off a little higher and a little farther apart," said Lt. Col. Jason Heard.

After the training, they are ready to nail the landing.

"By the time you see us here in Grand Junction, we're flying only three feet apart, or sometimes only 18 inches, and we'll fly all the way down to 150 feet," said Lt. Col. Jason Heard.

West Star Aviation said as hosts, they prep from the second one air show ends till the next year, which takes about two years of work.

Thunderbirds said they are excited for this weekend’s show because of the beautiful scenery. They will be the final performance of about 12 on Sunday afternoon.

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