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Thunderbirds confirmed for 50th annual Abbotsford Air Show

The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Thunderbirds, will perform in Abbotsford in August as part of the 50th anniversary of the Abbotsford International Air Show. - PHOTO COURTESY U.S. AIR FORCE
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Thunderbirds, will perform in Abbotsford in August as part of the 50th anniversary of the Abbotsford International Air Show.
— image credit: PHOTO COURTESY U.S. AIR FORCE

The Thunderbirds will be coming to town in August to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Abbotsford International Air Show.

Officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds will perform here on Aug. 11 and 12, according to its performance schedule released last week.

“We have the Thunderbirds. That’s great for us,” said air show president Ron Price.

It’s an even bigger accomplishment considering the U.S. military recently announced it was reducing the number of demo teams and shows it would sponsor.

In a statement issued by the U.S. Air Combat Command, a decision was made to cut back to “one single-ship demonstration team for the 2012 air show season.”

Two A-10s, two F-16s and an F-15 team will no longer be sponsored, leaving only the F-22 demonstration team (along with the Thunderbirds) to perform.

The F-22 will only perform at 20 shows this season and has not been confirmed for Abbotsford.

The announcement of a decrease in U.S. participation has done little to dampen Price’s excitement about next year’s festivities.

“We always get great support from the Canadian military and the civilian aircraft.”

He said a full lineup of planes will be on hand to celebrate the golden anniversary.

“We will start the show at 10:30 a.m. and still have planes in the air at 5:30 p.m.”

While he could not announce the lineup for next year’s event, he said updates will be posted to the website at www.abbotsfordairshow.com.

The Abbotsford International Air Show takes place Aug. 10-12, 2012.

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