What Does It Take To Host The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds?

baer flyoverWith the recent partnership of SkyLink Aviation and Baer Air, the SkyLink leadership team paid a visit to the Melbourne, Florida-based aircraft charter company to not only identify mutual opportunities, but to also watch the second annual Melbourne Air & Space Show, which was attended by 250,000 spectators in early October.

The main attraction of the two-day air show was the performance by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. With their prime location at the Melbourne International Airport, Baer Air’s facilities and services were utilized by the world-renowned Thunderbirds the entire weekend.

Baer Air provided its fixed base operation infrastructure and wealth of experience to the Thunderbirds’ team of pilots, mechanics, and support staff for the show.

Following the squadron’s arrival in Melbourne on October 2, Baer Air helped to off-load and fuel a C-17 Globemaster III support aircraft for the operation, hosted pilot briefings provided storage and workspace for mechanics and their equipment, and assisted in organizing press briefings.

baer groupBaer also loaned all of its tugs and aircraft support stands to transport the Thunderbird equipment throughout the entire event, and continuously refueled the fighter jet fleet.

“Baer Air pumped over 30,000 gallons of fuel over a three-day period to both the Thunderbirds and our regular customers and there were no delays to anyone during that period,” noted Jamie Toler, Manager of Line Service for Baer Air.

Throughout the duration of the air show, the Thunderbirds utilized Baer Air’s expansive 24,500 square foot hangar space to present a static display of the F-16 Fighting Falcon that is used in their aerial demonstrations, and made room for the U.S. Air Force maintenance team to work on one of the Thunderbird jets that had incurred a maintenance issue.
skylink thunderbirds

“Baer Air was honored to host the Thunderbirds for the Melbourne Air Show,” said Joe Stein, President and CEO of Baer Air.

Although Baer Air was not the main attraction, its employees and their families, aircraft owners, and local dignitaries were able to catch a spectacular view of the Thunderbirds’ performance from Baer Air’s location at the end of Runway 9R.

All who stopped by Baer Air’s facilities to get a closer look were extremely impressed – from old aviation hands to kids attending their first air show. “I want to be a pilot,” was a common remark made by many of the young spectators who seemed to be making career decisions on the spot.

“In aviation, quality, safety and precision are our watchwords. SkyLink and Baer Air were incredibly proud to host the Thunderbird team because they live these values every day – in addition to an outstanding display of world class teamwork!” stated David Dacquino, President and CEO of SkyLink Aviation.

SkyLink prides itself in supporting complex, worldwide missions that require extreme precision and planning, much like the effort put forth by Baer Air in supporting the round-the-clock operation that the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds depended upon.

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