USAF Thunderbirds

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Comments (18)

Itallica on August 18, 2012


Leo Roundtree on August 18, 2012

Hi Tery. Thanks for the visit. I thought about you when I heard they were heading home from air shows in Canada. Don't know exactly where, though.

Cheers, Leo

Cindy Breen on August 19, 2012

Great shot Leo

LIKED all Marion:-)

GasGasL€X on August 19, 2012

Just a priveledge to be able to experience such a sight from up there.. Soo jealous am I...

Leo Roundtree on August 20, 2012

Thank you, Marion & Lex. It was and amazing sight with Idaho in the background 31,000 feet below. It does give you a strange feeling the first time you lie there and look straight down through that little window.

Best wishes, Leo

Cindy Breen on August 20, 2012

Not for me Leo, hate heights:-))

Great shots you are so lucky..Marion

Leo Roundtree on August 20, 2012

I like it, Marion.. Leo

Дмитрий Валтонен on August 24, 2012

Very nice composition! Very dynamic image! WEll done, Leo! Best wishes from Russia!

Leo Roundtree on August 24, 2012

Thank you, Dmitriy.

Greetings from Spokane, WA, USA Leo

HAMANA on February 20, 2013

Fantastic shot!!! LIKE & YS

It needs explanation, please...

LIKE and best wishes from Michigan,


Leo Roundtree on February 20, 2013

Thank you for your visit, Doerthe. Back in August I had the opportunity to go on a "media flight" as a freelance photographer. Representative from all the TV stations in town as well as some newspapers and magazines were aboard the flight. The mission was to refuel the USAF Thunderbirds as they returned to Nellis AFB, Navada after performing in an airshow in Canada.
This shot was taken as the F-16 was dropping away from the KC-135 tanker after being refueled. "We" refueled the entire team which consisted of eight F-16s. After refueling the team members took up positions on either side of the tanker until all were fueled. Then they flew in formation behind the tanker for a photo op.

Best wishes from Spokane, WA, Leo

HAMANA on February 20, 2013

Oh my, what an adventure it must have been. I envy you for that once in a lifetime opportunity, Leo. Thanks very much for your comment and all the fantastic photos!!! I justed added a YS for this shot.

Best wishes from Michigan,


Leo Roundtree on February 20, 2013

Thank you, Doerthe. It was a great adventure. What made it even better was being able to get my wife on the flight too. She said it was even worth getting up at 4:00 am!

Best wishes, Leo

Leo Roundtree on February 20, 2013

Doerthe, I just realized that I have to make a correction. This shot was taken as he was approaching the boom.


HAMANA on February 20, 2013

Thanks for both messages, Leo. Getting up at that time isn't easy, but for such an exciting day it wouldn't be so bad.

I wouldn't have know the difference about the approach. I find it so fascinating that it's possible to fill up at that speed. How long did it take to refuel all Thunderbirds? And how many were in that formation, I assume six?

I showed my husband your photos and he thinks, too, that they're fantastic.

Greetings from Michigan,


Leo Roundtree on February 20, 2013

Hi Doerthe, We refueled the entire squadron on this mission, which is eight planes. It took 8-10 minutes per plane counting time to approach, connect, fill up and "get out of the way" for the next bird. All told, we flew together for well over an hour. As you can see from the other photos, they flew off our wings when they weren't on the boom. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity. Millions of people have photos of them from true ground, but not many from this view. . If you check my tags for "aircraft"" I also have photos of a B-1 bomber and "regular" F-16s. So glad your husband likes the photos too. Best wishes, Leo

Leo Roundtree on February 21, 2013

Hi Marion, I got an with a message from you, but it didn't show up here. As for the F-35, I don't know much about them since I'm retired from the Air Force and kinda out of touch. I did read that the US is buying more than 2000 of them, so I hope they live up to expectations. I also read that there have been a lot of problems in R&D as well as cost overruns as there are with development of any new aircraft.

Greetings, Leo

Hello, Leo!! How are you? Here's some refuel in russian skies for you) I'm sure it will be interesting for you! We had a parade today here in Moscow and about 70 aircraft passed over the ceneter of the city. Best wishes to you and your family! Greetings from Russia))

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 18, 2012
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Leo Roundtree
    • Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T1i
    • Taken on 2012/08/13 10:09:41
    • Exposure: 0.005s (1/200)
    • Focal Length: 38.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO100
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash