US Air Force Thunderbirds Expected To Fly At National Cherry Festival

Good news for fans of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, they’ll be taking flight again during the National Cherry Festival Air Shows.

It comes after a landing mishap involving an F-16 Friday afternoon in Dayton, Ohio.

The pilot and a tech sergeant had to be taken to the hospital and are now recovering.

It wasn’t until Sunday night the U.S. Air Force confirmed the Thunderbirds will still perform at the National Cherry Festival.

9&10’s Megan Woods has more details only days before they take to the sky.

“I’m just thankful that they’re safe after that accident.”

Mark Hamlyn everything is part of the Traverse Area Motor Pilots Society and loves everything about airplanes and air shows.

Like many Hamlyn was hurt once news broke about the accident in Ohio. “You’re worried about hopefully nobody was seriously hurt or killed, that’s the first thing you think about, and then after that I say holy cow are they going to be able to fly here?”

While plans for their performance in Traverse City was up in the air, the festival had to keep positive.

Executive Director of National Cherry Festival, Kat Paye says, “Until we had an official word from the Thunderbirds that they were or were not attending our show we kind of go along business as usual there’s still an airshow to be had and there’s still a festival to be planned.”

All doubt was settled once it was announced the Thunderbirds will be back in the sky for National Cherry Festival.

Paye says, “If I could jump up and down I would, We are extremely excited to have the air force Thunderbirds is joining us in just a few days. They’ll be arriving on Thursday and of course flying in our airshow Saturday and Sunday.”

Hamlyn says, “I didn’t think they would come this weekend, I really did not but for them to just continue to me, I’m very proud of them to do that. I’m sure that’s weighing on all of them, whatever happened in that accident, but I’m very proud of them.”

A triumphant return sure to make this weekend’s air show even more special, especially for Hamlyn.

“I know in my mind it’s going to be more memorable for myself. I’m going to really watch it, be very grateful that they came here and again hopefully everybody is safe, no more accidents and they just keep moving on.”

The Thunderbirds arrive Thursday and if you’re in Traverse City you may get a glimpse of them practicing Friday.

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