Subscribe
Maj. Alex Turner, Thunderbird #5, and Maj. Whit Collins, Thunderbird #6, fly over England on Monday, July 10, 2017. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flew over several bases and landmarks in preparation for the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at Royal Air Force Fairford, England.

Maj. Alex Turner, Thunderbird #5, and Maj. Whit Collins, Thunderbird #6, fly over England on Monday, July 10, 2017. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flew over several bases and landmarks in preparation for the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at Royal Air Force Fairford, England. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

Maj. Alex Turner, Thunderbird #5, and Maj. Whit Collins, Thunderbird #6, fly over England on Monday, July 10, 2017. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flew over several bases and landmarks in preparation for the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at Royal Air Force Fairford, England.

Maj. Alex Turner, Thunderbird #5, and Maj. Whit Collins, Thunderbird #6, fly over England on Monday, July 10, 2017. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flew over several bases and landmarks in preparation for the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at Royal Air Force Fairford, England. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over RAF Duxford, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017. The Thunderbirds flew over several bases and landmarks in preparation for the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, England.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over RAF Duxford, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017. The Thunderbirds flew over several bases and landmarks in preparation for the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, England. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over England on Monday, July 10, 2017, in preparation for the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, England.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over England on Monday, July 10, 2017, in preparation for the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, England. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over England on Monday, July 10, 2017, in preparation for the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, England.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over England on Monday, July 10, 2017, in preparation for the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, England. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly behind a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017. The flyover is in preparation for the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, England.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly behind a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017. The flyover is in preparation for the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, England. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over RAF Lakenheath, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017. The Air Force is celebrating its 70th Anniversary.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over RAF Lakenheath, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017. The Air Force is celebrating its 70th Anniversary. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly behind a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly behind a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly behind a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, over Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly behind a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, over Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly behind a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly behind a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

Maj. Whit Collins, Thunderbird #6, flies next to a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, during aerial refueling on Monday, July 10, 2017.

Maj. Whit Collins, Thunderbird #6, flies next to a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, during aerial refueling on Monday, July 10, 2017. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds receive aerial refueling from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds receive aerial refueling from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Monday, July 10, 2017. (Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force)

RAF MILDENHALL, England — Residents of Great Britain were greeted with a rare sight in the sky Monday from flyovers of the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds over popular sights like RAF Duxford, Stonehenge and Loch Ness.

The elite air acrobatics team toured several British landmarks and military bases in preparation for their first appearance in a decade at the Royal International Air Tattoo, the world’s largest military air show, which takes place July 14-16.

The squadron remained airborne throughout thanks to support from the 100th Air Refueling Wing stationed at Mildenhall.

This year’s air show commemorates the Air Force’s 70th birthday.

“We embrace a culture of innovation and dare to break barriers,” U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said in a statement. “It should come as no surprise that airmen are known for taking challenges and turning them into opportunities ... quite simply, it’s in our DNA.”

The Thunderbirds and a F-22 Raptor demonstration team are slated to take part in flying displays each day at the air show. There will also be static displays of current U.S. military aircraft, such as the B-52, B-1, C-17, CV-22, MC-130J, F-16 and P-8.

The B-1B Lancer long-range strategic bomber was last seen at the RIAT in 2009.

Also taking part in the air show will be World War II-era fighters, the Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk and North American P-51D Mustang. “The U.S. Air Force has played an important role in our history and has helped us become the greatest military air show in the world,” RIAT spokesman Richard Arquati said in a statement.

RIAT is held every year at RAF Fairford in Gloucestshire. Aircraft from around the world are viewed by an average of 200,000 people.

howard.william@stripes.com Twitter @William16058388


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up