Thunderbird site visit

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Beth Kobily
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The U.S.A.F. Thunderbird advanced pilot number eight, Capt. Erik Gonsalves, visited the 911th Airlift Wing for a pre-Open House site visit January 25, 2017.

The site visit was in preparation for the upcoming Wings Over Pittsburgh Open House being held May 13-14, 2017. The goal of the visit was to make sure that open house plans are moving along in compliance with the Thunderbirds’ specific demonstration rules and restraints.

Major Charlie Baker, open house director with the 911th Airlift Wing, said the site visit was a success.

“It went very well,” said Baker. “We’ve got a history with the Thunderbirds so we’re trying to keep things as similar as possible to previous years. The last time we had them here was in 2010. We’ve had a few small changes since then. There’s been some development around the airport so we had to move a couple of safety boxes and whatnot, but outside of that he was very impressed with how prepared we were and very happy with how far along we are. Even though it’s been seven years from their last visit, the continuity’s been very good.”

Gonsalves, who was hired on the Thunderbirds’ team June, 2016, is excited about his team’s visit to Pittsburgh in May.

“This is an awesome opportunity to have a reserve base at an airfield that’s joint use, a civilian and military field,” said Gonsalves. “What a cool opportunity to kind of showcase our show as well as the Air Force mission to the Pittsburgh area and hopefully beyond.”

Gonsalves will also be the team’s narrator during their performance at the open house Mother’s Day Weekend.

Wings Over Pittsburgh updates can be found on the 911th AW’s Facebook page,