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2019 Fort Wayne Air Show hosts Thunderbird fighter jet showcase

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Six Thunderbird fighter jets took off from the runway to kick off the 2019 Fort Wayne Air Show.

Six United States Air Force pilots took off in their F-16 fighter jets to kick off the 2019 Fort Wayne Air Show at the 122nd  Fighter Wing Air National Guard. The group is also called the Thunderbirds.

The group of pilots performed different tricks and stunts on Thursday.

A pilot said the purpose of the event is not only to put on a great show, but to inspire people and hopefully recruit them into the air force.

“Hopefully they’ll see our show and realize the commitment, the dedication, and professionalism the air force embodies and they’ll be motivated to want to partake in that,” said Will Graeff, a Thunderbird pilot.

A pilot said the jets were hitting top speeds of 600 miles per hour and were flying as close as 18 inches apart from each other.

“We’re flying 3 feet and 18 inches away from each other at any moments notice so there needs to be a lot of that trust among all six pilots in the air and also people on the ground to make sure we’re safe and keep an eye on us as well,” Graeff said.

The Thunderbirds will perform again on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

Louie Tran

Louie Tran is the weekend anchor for Fort Wayne’s NBC at 6 and 11pm and a weekday general assignment reporter. To share story ideas, please email him at

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