Sun, Jun 12, 2005
Former Pilot Returns
The U.S. Air Force Air
Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, announced this week they
will continue to fly a five-ship demonstration at air shows around
the country until a newly assigned right wing pilot completes
training required for the position.
The team normally flies a six-ship demonstration and has been
without their right wing pilot since May 7th when then right wing
Maj. Brian Burns identified a medical condition that was impacting
his ability to perform as a demonstration team pilot. He has since
been cleared for flight, but because of the unique and demanding
requirements of flying close formation during aerial shows, Air
Force leadership made the difficult decision to reassign Major
"Major Burns is a superb aviator, outstanding officer and will
continue to serve our Air Force with distinction," said Lt. Col.
Mike Chandler, Thunderbird commander.
Maj. Chris Callaghan, right wing for the 2002-2003 Thunderbirds
has returned to the team to complete the season. He was flying the
F-15C in Elmendorf AFB, Alaska before returning to the team.
"We welcome Major Callaghan back to the Thunderbird team and
look forward to showcasing Air Force airpower and precision flying
across the country with minimal disruptions to our air show
schedule," said Colonel Chandler.
Safety of pilots, enlisted crews and the viewing public is the
top concern for the Air Force and the Thunderbirds. The
Thunderbirds will continue to fly a five-ship demonstration until
Major Callaghan completes training required to fly the right wing
The right wing pilot flys in the diamond formation during the
demonstration and is responsible for scheduling and assisting the
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