The Museum of Aviation on the grounds of Robins AFB, Ga., will open a new permanent exhibit on May 3 featuring an F-16 that formerly flew with the Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team. That same day, the current Thunderbirds will perform at the base. The F-16, which flew with the Thunderbirds from 1983 to 1991, will be on display in the museum’s Century of Flight Hangar. “Besides the aircraft, we’ll display some of the uniforms and equipment used by the Thunderbirds team and show how the team represents all US Air Force men and women doing their jobs around the world,” said Ken Emery, the museum’s director, in an Air Force release April 29. The museum gained the F-16 a year ago from Sheppard AFB, Tex., where it had been used as a maintenance trainer for several years. It was repainted in the Thunderbirds’ red-white-and-blue paint scheme for its new home. With it, the Museum of Aviation joins the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, as only two places in the country to have former Thunderbird F-16s on display, according to the release. (Museum of Aviation Web site)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.