Thunderbirds and the Missing Pylon

wpid13554-CRW_7987.jpgA discussion on Facebook between a few people I know recently turned to a discussion about the USAF display team, the Thunderbirds. While I can’t now remember how ended up the way they did, at some point, there was discussion about the time the Thunderbirds touched in mid-air with one aircraft losing part of the wing tip missile rail. This occurred at the Chicago Air and Water Show and I was there that day.

wpid13556-CRW_7992.jpgAt the time, not many people knew anything had happened. Indeed, for a while they flew on before pulling out of the display routine and orbiting overhead and then eventually returning to Gary to land. No-one on the ground had any idea what was going on. I did not capture the contact between the jets. However, when I looked through my shots afterwards, I realized I had a shot of the four ship formation with one aircraft missing the rail and another showing some signs of damage on the tailplane where the rail had impacted. Below is one shot to prove they started out intact!

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