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Air Force Thunderbirds Land in Duluth

Updated: 07/13/2014 10:47 PM
Created: 07/13/2014 4:02 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

The sound of jets is nothing new in Duluth with the 148th making regular flights, but this week you might get to spot the Air Force Thunderbird F-16s who landed at the base on Sunday. The Thunderbirds are in town before they fly over the MLB All-Star Game in Minneapolis on Tuesday.

The Thunderbird F-16s are shining in red, white and blue at the 148th Fighter Wing. Captain Lucas Buckley has traveled the country with the Air Force, but he's from Rosemount and said it's great to stop back home in Minnesota.

“It's been an honor to serve in the Air Force for 10 years, and to come back and touch base with the local community here I couldn't be more proud,” Buckley said.

He is in charge of maintenance for the 11 jets and said the Air Force has more career options than just being a pilot.

“If you're looking to go to college and get some education and really get some life experience, I think the air force is a really great choice,” Buckley said.

He said seeing the Thunderbirds' aerial maneuvers is a big draw, and as the maintenance officer he gets a front row seat.

“It never gets old for me to see a 10 year old kid just stare up at the sky and watch the airplanes and the big smile on their face and they come up to you afterward and say, 'That was really neat. How can I do that someday?'” Buckley said.

The Thunderbirds will spend a few days in Duluth before they show off at the All-Star Game.

“It's just a flyover really of Target Field. You'll see us come over about 500 feet at about 350 knots in a delta six-ship wedge formation,” Buckley said.

Baseball fans will get a taste of what the Air Force can do, and some might just want to live at Mach speed.

Buckley said the Thunderbirds stationed at the 148th because the flies the same F-16 so the Duluth base has all the tools they need to maintain the Thunderbirds. He said it's also only a 20 minute flight to Minneapolis.

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