Thursday, June 2, 2011

The hands behind the A-10 East Demonstration Team

REPUBLIC AIRPORT, N.Y. -- Maj. Dylan Thorpe, A-10 East Demonstration Team pilot, prepares for flight during an air show May 28. Major Thorpe has been with the team for six months since receiving his certification last November. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter) Hi-res

by Airman 1st Class Nicholas Benroth
23rd Wing Public Affairs

6/2/2011 - LONG ISLAND, N.Y. -- A crowd of 200,000 people watched on as Maj. Dylan "Habu" Thorpe performed aerial demonstrations that dazzled the crowd and showcased the capabilities of the A-10C Thunderbolt II at the Jones Beach Air Show in Jones Beach State Park, N.Y.

But there's a side of the air show most people don't see, that's the work that goes on behind the scenes. This includes the maintenance, cleaning and narration that the support team provides during the air shows.

"There is a ton of work that goes into an air show other than just the flying," said Staff Sgt. Adam Sunner, A-10 East Demonstration Team crew chief. "Our weeks consist of constant work on the aircraft or training whether we are doing an air show or not."

The demonstration team is made up of two maintenance support teams. One group will attend the air show while the other group stays behind to train and prepare to send planes for the next air show.

"Most people think we have a lot of down time while doing this, but in reality we are always working." said Sergeant Sunner. "But even though its hard work we all volunteered for this and it's something that we love to do."

The crew members of the demonstration team volunteered for the two year position.

Sergeant Sunner is on his second year at the demonstration team and has grown as a crew chief learning more than what he usually would have.

"Working on an aircraft back at the squadron you mainly focus on your job you're not worried about the avionics or the specifics of an engine repair," he said. "But when you only have a four man crew you rely on each other and help each other out when work needs to be done."

Major Thorpe recognized how vital the support they offer is and how none of it would be possible without their commitment.

"When I am up there flying doing all of these maneuvers the last thing I want to be think is something going to go wrong with the aircraft," said Maj. Dylan Thorpe, A-10 East Demonstration Team pilot. "But these crews are some of the best out there and I have the upmost faith in their abilities."

The team will perform a total of 32 air shows this year visiting cities all over the U.S. showcasing the A-10's capabilities and the power of the Air Force.


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