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Air Force Thunderbird Visits Robins Ahead of Show

An Air Force Thunderbird landed at Robins on Thursday in preparation for the upcoming air show in October.

Maj. Scott Petz flew the distinctive red, white and blue F-16 jet around the base a few times Thursday morning before landing to speak with media.

He was doing a site survey in preparation for the show to be held Oct. 1-2.

Petz said an F-16 generates 30,000 pounds of thrust, which is more than the entire starting field of the Daytona 500. That kind of power can suck debris into the engines, so part of his visit is to check the condition of the runway area.

"We want to make sure your airfield is ready to go for our air show, and it is," he said. "It looks great."

He also was scoping out landmarks around the base that will be used as reference points during the performance.

It has been a long time since Robins has seen a Thunderbird jet. The Navy's Blue Angels were the star attraction in the last air show at the base, in 2012. The Thunderbirds last performed at Robins in 2009.

After performing only a couple of shows in 2014 due to budget cuts, the Thunderbirds returned to a full schedule last year and are scheduled for 67 shows this year. That includes a flyover at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 21.

The Thunderbirds are a aerobatic flight demonstration team that performs throughout the year. The team is the star attraction of this year's Robins show, which has been dubbed "Thunder Over Georgia."

The 2012 air show drew 180,000 people to the base.

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