I’m Lt. Col. Greg Moseley, “Thunderbird 1,” lead pilot and commander of the Thunderbirds, your U.S. Air Force’s official jet demonstration team (www.afthunderbirds.com). My job is to lead more than 120 people who wear the Thunderbirds uniform, charged with demonstrating American air power and representing our fellow Airmen to millions of people around the world.

Normally, we travel to dozens of air shows between March and November every year. This year, unfortunately, we are one of the many military units impacted by sequestration. All of our flying hours have been cut, and all scheduled 2013 performances have been cancelled. We expect to get back in the air in October, which is when we’ll begin the training for the 2014 air show season.

I’m not here to talk politics ... I'm just hoping to share info about the Thunderbirds mission and my Air Force experience. With that in mind, you can ask me anything.

PROOF: (me and my ride) http://instagram.com/p/YdwU3DO4WD/

Also check us out at www.facebook.com/afthunderbirds and www.twitter.com/afthunderbirds.

UPDATE Thanks for letting me participate in IAmA, it was a great time and our team looks forward to participating more in the near future

Comments: 1571 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

CaptainCunt_720 karma

Somewhat specific, but can you confirm that a MiG 28 can do a 4g negative dive?

afthunderbirds821 karma

Yeah I have seen it...Top Gun right?

handjivewilly392 karma

I have never watched a Thunderbirds show, but have watched a few Blue Angels shows. Is there a rivalry between the two groups, and if so which one is better at their job?

afthunderbirds824 karma

Of course there is a friendly rivalry between us and the Blues... they are a great bunch of folks and do a great mission for the Navy

afthunderbirds2352 karma

But yes we are better

solidcopy376 karma

How do you think the emergence of new stealth fighter aircraft (such as China's J-31 and J-20) will change the future of air-to-air combat? Will there be a return to traditional dogfighting because of the difficulty of acquiring a radar or infrared lock-on against a low-observable target?

afthunderbirds374 karma

Outstanding question PhD level... air to air combat is always changing and with new technologies it will continue to adjust it

afthunderbirds199 karma

Our AF leadership has made some very difficult decisions lately that involve a wide variety of issues...unfortunately that involves the AFA flyby...it was a blast last year, so yes it is a bummer

RunnerMeep95 karma

Make sure to click "reply" to the specific comment you address Mr. Moseley!

Edit: Clearly Eyesight is not my strong suit

afthunderbirds159 karma

Sorry about that but there are 2 E's in Moseley!

chicken-Mcfly184 karma

For an experienced pilot like you, which one is your favorite WWII airplane and why?

afthunderbirds318 karma

I have always be partial to the P-40 warhawk...AVG, Flying Tigers...those guys are my heros

_Flippin_152 karma

After my grandpa had retired from the AF (PhantomII pilot in vietnam and worked with NASA on the missile programs. And because I really like to pass this around for some reason: http://i.imgur.com/NI4tuXV.jpg), we would always go to the shows. He always told me it was his dream to be one of you, or an astronaut. And he was too tall to be an astronaut.

  • What is the most amount of G's you've ever pulled?

  • If you could change anything on the F-16, what would it be?

  • Star wars or Star trek?

  • Opinions on the current state of Taco bell and the Dorritos Locos Taco?

afthunderbirds270 karma

I pulled 10.3 Gs in the Raptor 2 engines Star Wars Love it!

raven12456129 karma

What has been your favorite aircraft you have flown, and why?

afthunderbirds269 karma

My favorite aircraft was the F-22, it was an amazing jet with incredible avionics

TangoDown13101 karma

What kind of training did it take to become a member of the Thunderbirds?

Is there a selection process that AF pilots must volunteer for or are candidates hand picked by those already in the Thunderbirds?

How does the team change when it loses a member and transitions to another?

afthunderbirds143 karma

Officers who want to join the team apply and are screened before selection. All pilots must have at least 750 hours of experience in a trainer or fighter aircraft. We select a few to visit the current team and run them through interviews before making final selections. Next year, we'll bring on a new Thunderbird 1, 3 and 6. We alternate to keep continuity

lefthandlarsony88 karma

Thanks for the AMA! Were there any particularly difficult places to fly with the Thunderbirds?

afthunderbirds128 karma

Each show site has a unique set of challenges...but my first over water show at Ft Lauderdale was difficult for me

sailingaway84 karma

What will you be doing instead of the 2013 air shows?

What has been your scariest moment while flying? (for the thunderbirds or not)

afthunderbirds123 karma

Our challenge is to keep executing our mission while not travelling. We've got a local community relations effort going, sending Thunderbirds Airmen to local schools and outreach opportunities. I always like to remind people: Flying is a big part of what we do, but it's not everything.

under___score50 karma

I'm starting SUPT in July down at Vance, and I've always wanted to become a member of the T-birds. What would be your best advice on making that happen? Is it a lot of networking, or just hope to get noticed for exemplary flying skills?

afthunderbirds88 karma

I went to Vance also class of 00-07! That is a great place to fly...advice from me, like I said before study hard and enjoy the flying. There will never be another time in your career where your entire job is to fly airplanes. I would trade with you in a heartbeat

aero199245 karma

Hey Lt Col Moseley, thanks so much for the AMA. I've seen the T-Birds multiple times both at Nellis and my home town, and the show is awesome. Also, last year, I was able to meet and talk to Gen Moore; he's an awesome guy! Thanks for all that you and your team do, both enlisted and officer. It's a huge inspiration, not just to cute little kids, but also to cute little 20 year olds like myself.

Anyway, questions:

What's the story behind your callsign?

Have you flown any other aircraft aside from the F-16? A lot of pilots seem to like the -16; any specific reasons you like it? How does it compare to any other aircraft you've flown?

Do you fly on your free time?

Thanks again. Stay safe, and I hope to see you all performing again soon!

afthunderbirds66 karma

Gen Moore is a great boss and a big fan of the team! The story behind Trump...lets just say it was a long weekend in Vegas I only have recently starting flying the Fighting Falcon, I started out flying the F-15C and flew that aircraft for 8 years and then transitioned over the the F-22A for around 3 years. No flying during my free time...in fact there is little to no free time

daviator8845 karma

With the tremendous investment in 5th generation fighters, if/when do you think the thunderbirds will be painting up some F-22s/F-35s?

afthunderbirds73 karma

THe F-16 is a great airshow airplane, I see it with the team for a long time to come

MajorLeagueNerd43 karma

What was your proudest moment in your career?

afthunderbirds129 karma

Flying over Dallas Cowboy stadium at 25K on the way to another airshow

quick_trip35 karma

I just wanted to say thanks to you and your team for an awesome show at McConnell AFB last year. (edit. added link to a video of their performance)

What do you plan on doing after your retirement?

afthunderbirds123 karma

Farming cattle in Texas...

Chicken_Wing34 karma

Be honest, would your team win in a dog fight with the Blue Angles? And how badly would you beat them?

afthunderbirds178 karma

I have never heard of the Blue Angels, but I am positive that if we had to fight them we would win!

Not_Trollestia27 karma

So what's the coolest expierence you've ever had while flying in the T-Birds? Edit: And have you ever blacked out while flying? Or had to eject?

afthunderbirds36 karma

We have had several cool experiences last year and this year, but I would say every time we take the team on to road it is a great experience. No other sqd in the AF has the opprotunity to represent our AF and military every weekend at a different location

Danimes26 karma

How do you train new comers to do tricks in the air??

afthunderbirds59 karma

We go through a 4 month long training season, which typically invovles flying twice a day every day until our ahow season which starts usually in March....it takes alot of flying to teach them to kick that ass!

runningmovies26 karma

What are the requirements to be a Thunderbird pilot? How many hours do you have flying?

afthunderbirds48 karma

I have around 2500hrs of fighter time, ranging from the F-15C, F-22 and now the F-16. The current requirement is at least 750hrs of fighter time

yellerfever22 karma


afthunderbirds24 karma

Study hard and enjoy the flying...it is a great experience and friends you will have through out your career

Butt_Naked21 karma

Will the team be bringing in new pilots next season or will the pilots that were supposed to be flying their second season this year be given another opportunity?

afthunderbirds27 karma

We're still planning on bringing new officers to the team in 2014. http://afthunderbirds.com/site/2013/04/12/thunderbirds-announce-2014-officer-selections/

ItsALeagueGame17 karma

Military spending cuts are hurting everybody, but especially the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels. Do you feel the budget cuts are justified as the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels serve no significant military purpose? What will your role be if the flying teams are grounded permanently?

afthunderbirds58 karma

We do serve a signifcant military purpore, every member of this team is a highly experienced Airman and the majority have served times over seas in combat operations. The team has the unique opprotunity to tell the story of the AF and the military members across the world to folks who may not know what our AF or military does on a daily basis, whether that is in combat operations or not

jerseycityfrankie15 karma

My question is about the older aircraft once flown by the Thunderbirds. Which Thunderbird mount of the past would you most like to fly, if they could restore one?

afthunderbirds37 karma

I would fly the F-105...that is probably my favorite Vietnam era fighter

ApocalypX12 karma

How did you come to join the Air Force?

Did you have any degrees/certificates/connections that put you above other fresh recruits when you started?


afthunderbirds23 karma

I graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1998. Had a great opprotunity to attend pilot training and just tried to work hard everyday

nicely11b4 karma

Will the team remain the same next year or will it change? Since you didn't get to perform at all this year.

Where is your favorite place to perform?

afthunderbirds10 karma

See my other answer and here is the hyper link http://afthunderbirds.com/site/2013/04/12/thunderbirds-announce-2014-officer-selections/

My favorite place to fly last year was Elmendorf AFB AK! It was a hoot