Thunderbirds arrive in the Biggest Little City

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) The Thunderbirds
have landed in Northern Nevada for the STIHL National Championship Air Races & Air Show.

"We're here to represent 660,000 total force airmen serving in the air force and that's kind of the incentive to want to be part of this team to be able to represent those who are serving our country away from their families," Thunderbird #2, Major Will Graeff, says.

He says it's an honor to be serving his country flying for this elite team.

"To go out there each and every day and try to tell the story of the American Airmen is a difficult yet humbling responsibility that I take full responsibility for and enjoy telling their story and what they're doing," he says.

The Thunderbirds will be performing at the air races from September 13-15.

"We're going to be going about 600 miles per hour or for the people that fly a lot about 450-550 knots. The solos are gonna be doing close passes narrowly missing each other you know as they're approaching each other with about a thousand knots of closur,. Graeff says.

It takes 130 airmen and women to put the entire show together. He says they are always pushing themselves to new heights.

"We essentially fly six days out of the week so essentially practicing everyday so it definitely hones those skills and it's difficult but a lot of fun," Graeff says.

Although the Thunderbirds are based at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, when it comes to flying, Graeff says the old Vegas Reno rivalry doesn't exist.

"No, I mean I've got neighbors who are born and bred Vegas so they have that rivalry with Reno but you know we're one team one flight we're just out here trying to spread that message and inspiring people to want to do great things," he says.

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