Thunderbirds share storied history with Hill Air Force Base

KUTV's Morgan Saxton suits up for her flight with the legendary Thunderbirds ahead of Hill Air Force Base's air show (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — The history behind Hill Air Force Base and the Thunderbirds dates back to 1979.

“The maintence is critical to keep them flying,” said Lt. Col Jeffrey Thomas, the Air Show Coordinator, “keep the air-worth and safe."

It’s a little gem on Utah’s largest air base.

"It’s almost like taking it back to the factory for a full re-build,” a Thunderbird pilot said.

Hundreds of base employees work to keep the planes airborne. There repair work at 30 years to life of a fighter jet.

“The paint job, (and) the maintenance we do here and on this aircraft is what it makes it look as a good as it does,” Lt. Col Jeffrey Thomas said.

Hill Air Force Base remains a critical part of the Thunderbird mission.

"We're actually taking a couple of the guys who have been working on our depo jet out there to see the fruits of their labor,” a thunderbird pilot told 2News.

From below it’s tough to tell the importance of their work, so 2News reporter Morgan Saxton went with one Thunderbird pilot on an exclusive trip to the skies.

After three hours of training, Saxton was flying 10,000 feet above the West Desert.

After landing, the maintenance crew was right back to work checking every detail for the next flight.

The Thunderbirds believe the program and the work at Hill AFB gives us them opportunity to continue to fly a safe aircraft and provide entertainment to people across the country.

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