It is generally agreed that the USAF Thunderbirds, formed in 1953, are the third major aerobatics teams still in operation to have been created, although the same year was the birth year for the Taiwanese Thunder Tiger Squadron, and the years before witnessed the arrival onto the scene of Britain’s Fighting Cocks and Meteorites, and the Pakistani Red Dragons and Paybills.
It's unclear which of them was the first to use smoke in their shows, but, for what it’s worth, most of the others sank into oblivion, while the Thunderbirds kept flying, and are now one of the most spectacular teams in the skies over various air shows.
A taste of that can be seen in the main photo of this piece, snapped by a USAF Senior Airman during the team’s outing over Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, at the end of March.
This time, we’re treated to a single Thunderbirds F-16 Fighting Falcon, making its way through the clouds of smoke others before it created, and spitting out its rear its own share of the stuff, on purpose and for show.
As stated on the side of the Falcon, inside the cockpit sits Captain Daniel Katz, playing the role of the team’s Opposing Solo pilot in plane No. 6. Until being selected for duty as an aerobatics pilot, he flew F-16s in Europe, as part of the 510th Fighter Squadron’s missions out of Aviano, Italy.