Thunder Tigers History

The aerobatic display team of Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) in Taiwan was first formed in 1953 in Tianan Air Base, under the name "Thunder Tigers Technical Flying Corps". On August 14, 1954, they performed their first public display at the Air Force Celebration Day, flying with four F-84G Thunderbird aircraft (this was the type's name in Taiwanese).

On 6 June 1956, they received the title of "Flight Technical Corps of China Air Force Thunder Tigers" and one year later began to fly with nine formation aircraft.

The foreign debut of the team was on 15 December 1957 during the Phillippines International Air Show at Manila Airport, when Thunder Tigers were one of the show highlights.

In 1959, Thunder Tigers began to fly with 11 F-86 "Daggers" (Taiwanese name). Later in April the team was invited to World Congress of Flight at Nellis AFB, USA, where Thunder Tigers pilots flew nine F-86F Sabres borrowed from USAF Williams AFB, AZ. The borrowed Sabre aircraft were painted in Republic of China (Taiwan) Air Force marks. In USA the team performed another three demonstrations.

In 1967, the team converted to F-5A Freedom Fighters. These were then replaced in 1975 with F-5E "Chung Cheng" (Taiwanese name) fighters.

On November 1, 1988, the "Thunder Tigers" transitioned to the new Taiwanese-built AT-3 jet training plane. At this time, the pilots of the team were drawn from instructors of the Air Force Academy in Tianan. Initially they flew just six planes, but the following year the team increased to its present count of seven aircraft. The "Thunder Tigers" then received their current paint scheme in white, blue and red colors and begin to use similar colors for the smoke generators.

On June 27, 1997, during four-ship barrel roll on a training flight at Kang Shan Air Base, the leader of the team crashed and died.

On 3 Feb 2012 Two of the Thunder Tigers aircraft, collided in mid-air during training flight. The planes took off from Gangshan Air Force Base at 3:37 p.m. for formation training and collided 33 minutes later at 16,000 feet altitude and a speed of 300 miles per hour. The left horizontal tail of the leading plane ripped off after the collision, but the both pilots managed to return and land the AT-3 aircraft safely to Kangshan Air Force Base. The other AT-3 training jet crashed near a mountain in Pingtung County in Southern Taiwan, as the both pilots ejected safely and parachuted to the ground./p>

Thunder Tigers F-86 at World Congress of Flight. April 1959 Nellis AFB Thunder Tigers F-5 Thunder Tigers F-5 Thunder Tigers F-5

Aerobatic Teams

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