Air Force fighter jets to fly again
July 15th, 2013
07:20 PM ET

Air Force fighter jets to fly again

By Jennifer Liberto

About 300 fighter jets, including the Air Force's Thunderbirds, will begin flying again.

Since April, about a third of the Air Force's combat flying fleet has been grounded due to federal spending cuts. The Air Force won a temporary reprieve from the cuts, which will allow the jets to begin flying again.

Congress gave the Air Force and other agencies the power to re-allocate money within their budgets. The Air Force on Monday decided to reinstate $208 million to restore the flights.

The move also affects the grounded Thunderbirds. They resume training with hopes of performing aerial shows next year. There will be no Thunderbird shows this year.


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Filed under: Air Force • Budget • Military • Security Brief
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. crusty123

    As a Navy guy, I am glad our sister service has received the budget flexibility to restore flying hours to the front line combat Air Force. Pilot skills are perishable. I would rather have those who fly with us in the Joint arena be up to the mark. Given the state of affairs today, we cannot count on having several months for work ups if those skills are allowed to decay.

    August 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Reply

    It's very important we get our multi trillion dollar air force flying again so we can spend our money on nothing some more.

    July 16, 2013 at 10:41 am | Reply
    • Thunderbird 12, Maj. Darrick B. Lee, USAF

      What this story fails to clarify is that the return to flying is not to perform in aerial demonstrations. It simply allows pilots to maintain their basic proficiency as Airmen (not necessarily as Thunderbirds.)
      Many do not realize that the Thunderbirds have not been flying AT ALL since 5 April 2013. (This means many are close to jeopardizing their basic qualifications in their primary jobs.) We agree that we shouldn't be performing when money doesn't allow it, but we assume America still wants its military service members trained in their basic jobs. This announcement simply allows our pilots to remain qualified to fly (as Airmen, in general.) We STILL are not performing demonstrations and still are not sure about what 2014 has in store. But, as a matter of combat readiness and professional development, military pilots need to be certified as able to fly (even if they don't fly in aerial demonstrations.) Thunderbird 12, Maj. Darrick B. Lee

      July 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
      • michelle

        My family and I went to see the show in Nov 2012 I believe, and it was amazing my kids always talks about it, My father in law also is retired from Thunderbirds.

        June 5, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
    • Just my 2 cents worth

      I guess some people would sooner spend millions so the so called first lady can have more vacations.

      August 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Reply
  3. alan

    moving money around within their budget.208 million.guess there is a little extra cash floating around.

    July 16, 2013 at 8:35 am | Reply
    • Thunderbird 12, Maj. Darrick B. Lee, USAF

      To be clear, the $208 million is shared across MULTIPLE units within Air Combat Command, including the Thunderbirds. These funds do not support participation in aerial demonstrations, but help pilots/maintainers stay certified in their basic jobs (as Airmen) during sequestration. Thunderbird 12, Maj. Darrick B. Lee

      July 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  4. SayanIndia

    A very welcome move indeed (the photograph of flying strikingly painted F-16s seem to celebrate it).

    Hope the United States government also reconsiders to hold the highly prestigious Red Flag air combat exercises at Nellis AFB, Nevada where the Indian Air Force was invited to participate.


    July 16, 2013 at 3:35 am | Reply
    • Thunderbird 12, Maj. Darrick B. Lee, USAF

      See more imagery here: or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Thanks for the support!

      July 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Reply

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