MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) - The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds landed at the Monterey Regional Airport Wednesday ahead of an action-packed weekend as they are set to headline the California International Airshow in Salinas.
Instead of touching down at the Salinas Municipal Airport, the F-16 Fighting Falcons landed in Monterey due to the difference in runway lengths. Monterey is over 1,000 feet longer than Salinas, providing for a much safer landing.
Major Daniel Katz is the lead solo pilot for the Thunderbirds.
"The Salinas Airport is just a little bit too short for us," Katz said. "We use Monterey, but we'll fly over the airport there in Salinas."
While Katz is in his second year with the squadron, this weekend will be his first time flying in the airshow.
"This was our first airshow we ever saw with the Thunderbirds as spectators," Katz said. "So really excited to be back."
When Katz and the rest of the squadron take to the skies, they'll be bringing a few new tricks with them.
"Just to showcase what we are working on these past two years," Katz said. "It really pulls at the heartstrings, it's loud, it's fast, it's low to the ground. All the maneuvers happen pretty quickly."
The California International Airshow Salinas is scheduled for October 7-8. Gates open at 9 a.m. on both days with flying set to begin at 11 a.m. in Salinas.