TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - KOLD News 13′s Janice Yu was able to take the flight of a lifetime with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds ahead of the Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona airshow at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
She spent the several hours in training before her flight, meeting with the Thunderbird’s flight surgeon, Major William Goncharow. He explained the effects G forces would have on her body and taught her breathing techniques to help prevent passing out.
Then, it was time to start looking the part - she was fitted for a flight suit, G-suit, helmet and mask.
A G-suit inflates on the legs and waist area to help prevent blood from pooling in the lower part of the body.
She was then trained on emergency procedures, just in case something went wrong.
Finally, she sat down with her pilot, Lt. Col. Eric Gorney, also known as Miami. He explained everything from take off to the maneuvers they would be doing in the air.
A short time later, they made their way to the F-16 Fighting Falcon, which even had Janice’s name on it.
She suited up, climbed in and took off, heading straight into the air.
They went about 40 miles southwest of Tucson, near the U.S. - Mexico border, where they hung upside down, sideways, did a few rolls and even hit 9 Gs.
An hour later they were back on the ground and greeted by the crew.
This was a once in a lifetime flight for Janice, but it’s what these group of elite fighter pilots and their entire team do almost every single day.
“It’s a lot more than just the airplane, right. It’s about the Thunderbird team, it’s about the teamwork aspect about what we do. That’s truly how we represent the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Gorney.
Lt. Col. Gorney and the team will travel to 31 bases this year showing off their precision and talent.