TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Thunder Tigers soared over the Presidential Office Building on Saturday as part of the traditional National Day celebrations held that day.
After a slight delay of four minutes, the day's aerial maneuvers began as a squadron of five new F-16V fighter jets in a V formation rocketed from west to east over the Presidential Office Building, down Ketagalan Boulevard, and over the East Gate. Next, five AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chung (自強) jets from the Thunder Tigers Aerobatics Team (雷虎小組) sped in tight formation with plumes of red, white, and blue smoke trailing behind them.
Just before reaching the East Gate, the Thunder Tigers suddenly broke off in separate directions. In the video, members of the crowd can be heard shouting in anticipation as the Thunder Tigers near and cheering with awe as the jets broke formation and fanned out over the metropolis.
The flight of the Thunder Tigers marked the crescendo of the morning's festivities, which had included a flag-raising ceremony, a speech by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), and performances by the Miaoli Chen Family PaYin Troupe, the Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, and a number of military and police units. Another highlight of the celebrations was the display of giant Taiwanese flags by military UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
The Thunder Tigers were established at the Tainan Air Force Base in 1953 but since 1993 have been based at the Air Force Academy in Kaohsiung's Gangshan District. Over the years, the team has flown a number of different aircraft, including the F-84G Thunderjet, F-86F Sabre, and variants of the Northrop F-5 before adopting the Taiwanese-made AT-3 training jets in 1988.
F-16V fighter jets fly over first. (CNA)
F-16V fighter jets. (CNA photo)
Thunder Tigers appear over Presidential Office Building. (CNA photo)