USAF Patch Display US Air Force Thunderbirds Aerobatic Team F16
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USAF Patch Display US Air Force Thunderbirds Aerobatic Team F16

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USAF Patch Display US Air Force Thunderbirds Aerobatic Team F 16 1980s Patch Embroidered on twill cut edge 135mm by 134mm five and three eighth inches by five and one quarter inches.

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The Thunderbirds Aerobatic Team was formed on 25 May 1953 as the 3600 Air Demonstration Team at Luke AFB Arizona equipped with four F 84G Thunderjet aircraft with their first appearance on 1 July 1953 at Nellis AB Nevada. Initially named the Stardusters the team was renamed the Thunderbirds to reflect local Arizona Indian culture after the first six displays. The team was assigned one T 33 for the teams narrator.

The Thunderbirds toured Central and South America and the Caribbean in 1954 and in 1955 the team converted to F 84F Thunderstreak aircraft and received their first transport support a C 119 Flying Boxcar.

In 1956 the Thunderbirds relocated to Nellis AB Nevada and reequipped with F 100C Super Sabre aircraft the first aerobatic team in the world to use supersonic airplanes and the support transport was upgraded to a C 123D Provider.

In November 1959 the Thunderbirds undertook their first overseas tour to the Far East performing at 29 shows in Taiwan Korea Japan Philippines and Hawaii and in 1963 conducted their displays in Europe and North Africa including Portugal West Germany France Libya Great Britain Luxembourg Italy and Spain performing 640 shows.

The Team reequipped with F 105B Thunderchiefs in early 1964 only displayed with them for six shows from 29 April before a fatal accident on 9 May led to the team transitioning to F 100D Super Sabres. In 1965 the Thunderbirds undertook three tours Europe Latin America and the Caribbean. In 1968 the Thunderbirds became the official aerobatic team of US Air Force.

F 4E Phantom IIs replaced the F 100s in 1969 but the oil crisis in 1973 led to the team transitioning to T 38 Talon aircraft with the last F 4 display carried out on 10 November 1973. As the Talons did not have the capacity for inflight refuelling overseas displays were not undertaken. A major crash in 1982 stopped displays until while the team reequipped with F 16A Fighting Falcons with the first F 16 display carried out on 2 April 1983. The team support aircraft were provided from operational units as required with either a C 17 or two C 130s being provided.

The teams 3000th air show was performed in 1990 and in 1991 went overseas for air shows in Switzerland Poland and Hungary. The team travelled abroad again in 1996 visiting Romania Bulgaria and Slovenia and also participated in the Atlanta Olympics opening ceremonies.

The 2007 European Goodwill Tour was the Thunderbirds first visit to Europe after the September 11 attacks. The Thunderbirds upgraded to F 16 Block 52 Fighting Falcons which gave the team the opportunity to perform never been done manoeuvre a diamond loop immediately after take off performed in the 2009 season. The 2009 Far East Tour took the team to the western border of the Pacific Rim and included displays in Hawaii Australia Malaysia Guam Thailand Japan and South Korea.

As a result of the US Government budget crisis the entire 2013 flying season was canceled but Performances resumed in 2014.




This patch dates from the 1980s.








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