I went to an airshow recently, and the Thunderbirds performed. However, by the time they finished the startup and flight check ceremonies, bad weather had rolled in. However, they did still taxi into position at the end of the runway to wait for the bad weather to blow over. About 45 minutes to an hour later, they decided visibility was to bad to fly, and they taxied back to the ramp.

My question is if there is a solitaire game built into the Thunderbird flight software or something to keep them from dying of boredom, or if they just stoically stare at the end of the runway.

  • $\begingroup$ stoically stare at the runway I guess, or banter on the radio $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak May 18 '14 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ Would you be willing to say what airport they were at? $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell May 18 '14 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ What does any pilot do while on the ground, in the cockpit, waiting for weather to clear (or doing something else other than making a go/no-go decision)? This has nothing to do with Thunderbirds. $\endgroup$ – mah May 18 '14 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ What do you do when you're stuck on the interstate for 45 minutes due to an accident up ahead? Look around, twiddle your thumbs, maybe listen to the radio a bit? Same thing exactly. Possibly easier for them because they're getting paid for it. Definitely no games on the HUD. $\endgroup$ – TypeIA May 18 '14 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ Can't you just picture playing Flappy Birds on their iPhones? $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell May 19 '14 at 0:45

I would imagine they do the same thing all pilots do when they go to the airport expecting a nice day and wind up grounded by weather: Sit around at the airport with the other pilots and complain about the lousy weather. (In this case, since they're all sitting in position waiting for the weather to clear up any griping was probably done over the radio.)

There are of course other things they can do, being a fairly well-known demonstration team and an important component of the public relations arm of the US Air Force, for example signing autographs and talking to spectators at the airport.

  • $\begingroup$ I suspect they don't gripe on the radio - too many spectators have scanners & it would spoil their image. $\endgroup$ – Dan Pichelman May 19 '14 at 2:33
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    $\begingroup$ @DanPichelman Gripe on UHF - most folks only have VHF radios/scanners :-) $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 May 19 '14 at 2:56
  • $\begingroup$ Makes sense to me :-) $\endgroup$ – Dan Pichelman May 19 '14 at 3:14

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