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    Posted October 22, 2014 by
    Atlanta, Georgia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Salute to troops

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    Dynamic cockpit video inside the Air Force Thunderbirds


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Charles Atkeison’s dream of flying with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds finally came true. The freelance aerospace journalist was invited to sit in the back seat of Thunderbird 8 with Major Michael Fisher at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, on October 17. “As I approached the red, white and blue high gloss painted aircraft, I looked up at the opened glass canopy and read Major Fisher's name identifying his aircraft,” he wrote. “A grin then ran across my face as my eyes laid witness to a second name next to Fisher's below where the canopy closes shut. It read 'Charles Atkeison.'” See the full photo set here.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    ATLANTA -- Soaring with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds is as risky as it is graceful as their F-16 Fighting Falcon screams across an air show crowd.


    The aerospace journalist enjoyed an incredible flight on October 17 with America's Ambassadors in Blue, the Thunderbirds. These airmen demonstrate each day the strength which lies within every American.


    Official Thunderbirds F-16 aircraft video highlights my flight. The cockpit camera captures both the earth behind myself and the air traffic control audio. The pilots who fly the F-16 call it a rocket since it's weight is far less than it's thrust.


    My pilot, Major Michael "Drago" Fisher, put our Thunderbird 8 aircraft through multiple flight demonstrations as we flew upside down, executed roll maneuvers and darted nose up while pulling five times that of gravity.


    As Drago yawed the aircraft nearly 360-degrees, the earth's horizon moves and the Sun's rays skirt across the Falcon as he calls out our altitude and heading.


    Your can follow the Thunderbirds via afthunderbirds.com.

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