ANTRON BROWN TO FLY WITH USAF THUNDERBIRDS ON APRIL 20 LAS VEGAS (April 17, 2010) - Antron Brown, driver of the Don Schumacher-owned Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster, will trade his firesuit for a flight suit as the 24-time NHRA winner will fly...
ANTRON BROWN TO FLY WITH USAF THUNDERBIRDS ON APRIL 20
LAS VEGAS (April 17, 2010) - Antron Brown, driver of the Don Schumacher-owned Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster, will trade his firesuit for a flight suit as the 24-time NHRA winner will fly with the famed U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, on April 20 at Nellis A.F.B. in Las Vegas. Brown is competing at the 11th annual Summitracing.com Nationals, April 16-18, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The Thunderbirds perform precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of Air Force high performance aircraft to people throughout the world. The squadron exhibits the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft.
"This is an awesome opportunity for me and I couldn't be more excited and thankful to get to fly with the Thunderbirds," Brown said. "This has been a cool few weeks after getting to land the space shuttle in the flight simulator at NASA before the Houston race and to get to fly in an F-16 with the Thunderbirds is just very exciting. I can't wait to feel that rush when we take off and do some maneuvers and see how it compares to driving our Matco Tools dragster."
The Thunderbirds squadron is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots (including six demonstration pilots), four support officers, three civilians and more than 130 enlisted personnel performing in 25 career fields. The four-aircraft diamond formation demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the solo aircraft highlight the maximum capabilities of the F-16. The season lasts from March to November, with the winter months used to train new members. The squadron performs no more than 88 air demonstrations each year and has never canceled a demonstration due to maintenance difficulty. More than 280 million people in all 50 states and 57 foreign countries have seen the red, white and blue jets perform in more than 3,500 aerial demonstrations. In addition to their responsibilities as the official U.S. Air Force aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds are part of our combat force. If required, the team's personnel and aircraft can be rapidly integrated into a fighter unit at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Since the aircraft are only slightly modified, they can be made combat-ready in less than 72 hours.
"To ride in a fighter plane has been a huge dream of mine ever since I was a little kid," Brown said. "This will make a really cool segment for our Getting Down With Brown feature on ESPN2 and I know the fans will really dig it. I just hope the pilot turns the sticks loose on me a little bit. Even if we don't win this weekend here at LVMS, I still hit the jackpot."
Brown, 34, is the only racer in NHRA history to earn wins and lead the standings in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle. He has 24 wins and 22 poles. The former college track star at Mercer Community College in New Jersey currently ranks fourth in the NHRA Top Fuel standings. Brown, competing in his third season in Top Fuel, recently set both personal bests in elapsed time (3.777-seconds) and speed (321.96 mph) last weekend at Houston Raceway Park. He has advanced to the final round at the last three NHRA races. Brown and NHRA Funny Car driver Bob Tasca visited NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston on April 8 before competing at the 23rd annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals.