2022 GFAFB, Thunderbirds

June 18, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

GFAFB Airshow: Saturday, June 18, 2022

I was looking forward to this Airshow for six months. My cousin lives 30 minutes from the Grand Forks Air Force Base and was willing to join me. The day before the show I was concerned about the heat. But it was wind and dust that was the real problem. By 2:53 pm., it was 81°F, the wind was 36 mph from the SE with gusts of 53 mph.
I’ve never attended an airshow where not a single aircraft flew. Even the USAF “Thunderbirds” felt the SE cross-winds were too treacherous to fly. We waited all afternoon for the winds to die down or at least shift to the South. There was a nice collection of military aircraft on static display so the show wasn’t a total loss. With no arial demonstrations the narrator interviewed the pilots. The pilots appeared at the fence-line to sign autographs and answer questions in lew of their performances. Chris Darnell ran his Jet Truck, “Shockwave” a second time. It was the highlight of the show. Little did we know in two weeks he would run it for the final time. RIP

 

2022 0618 0192022 0618 019Chris Darnell's Shockwave Jet Truck with 3 J34-48 Pratt & Whitney Jet Engines.

Photographs

I planned to travel light. I limited myself to a Sony a68 camera and Sony 70–300mm zoom lens. I would use my Samsung J7 phone for any wide photographs. The J7 display was almost unusable in the bright daylight. I wish I brought my Sigma 10–20mm ultra wide zoom. Later, I was glad I didn’t. With all the dust flying around, changing lenses would have been a disaster. I would have been cloning dust spots out of every photos. The dust also affected the lighting: everything is brown and it feels like you’re getting sandblasted.

See the Gallery or the Gallery Slideshow for more photos from the GFAFB Airshow: 83 in total with additional photo/airplane descriptions. My photos are ©2022.

Aircraft On Display

Time Aircraft Notes
1208 Nike-X ‘Sprint’ Anti-ballistic missile. Stanley Mickelson Safeguard Complex, Cavailer, ND
1210 RQ–4 ‘Global Hawk’ 319th Reconnaissance Wing, Grand Forks AFB, ND
1346 KC–135R ‘Stratotanker’ 92nd Air Refueling Wing, Fairchild Air Force Base, WA
1347 F/A–18F ‘Super Hornet’ VX–31 NAS, China Lake, CA. “The Dust Devils” DD 302
1349 F/A–18F ‘Super Hornet’ VX–31 NAS, China Lake, CA. “The Dust Devils” DD 214. sn 16566
1350 F–15E ‘Strike Eagle’ MO 391st Fighter Squadron ‘Bold Tigers’ Mountain Home AFB, ID. AF91–0300
1357 F–15E ‘Strike Eagle’ MO 391st Fighter Squadron ‘Bold Tigers’ Mountain Home AFB, ID. AF91–0330
1355 CC–130J ‘Hercules’ ESC 436 SON ‘Canucks Unlimited’ RCAF ARC. sn 130611
1355 T–38A ‘Talon’ FF IFW Beale AFB, CA. AF64–13176. Col. Richard
1355 T–38A ‘Talon’ BB 1 RS/9th RW Air Combat Command AF65–10429
1347 T–45C ‘Goshawk’ VT–86 600 TW–6 Training Six. sn 163650.
1401 T–45C ‘Goshawk’ VT–86 602 TW–6 Training Six.
1403 B–52H ‘Stratofortress’ MT 5th Bomb Wing 5 BW. Minot AFB, ND. AF60–005
1403 Cessna 182T ‘Skylane’ ND Wing, Civil Air Patrol, USAF Auxiliary. N568CP
1408 UH–72 ‘Lakota’ US Army National Guard, Bismarck, ND. sn 72156
1409 UH–1 ‘Huey’ USAF MT ‘Rough Riders’ Minot AFB, ND. sn 96623
1410 UH–60 ‘Black Hawk’ US Army National Guard, Bismarck, ND. sn 21180

Scheduled Performances

2022 0618 1202022 0618 120The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron 'Thunderbirds'

Thunderbird Pilots

  1. Commander Leader, Lt. Colonel Justin Elliott
  2. Left Wing, Major Ian Lee
  3. Right Wing, Major Lauren Schlichting
  4. Slot, Major Zane Taylor
  5. Opposing Solo, Major Kyle Oliver
  6. Lead Solo, Captain Daniel Katz
  7. Operations, Lt. Colonel Ryan Yingling
  8. Narrator, Major Jacob Impellizzeri

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