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Air Force Thunderbirds pay a visit to Edwards Air Force Base

Posted at 6:16 AM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 09:29:53-05

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — It's been a decade since the Air Force Thunderbirds paid a visit to Edwards Air Force Base. 23ABC caught up with Thunderbird Pilot 8 and he told us what it takes to get into this cockpit.

"To be on the team it's just a complete honor. Being in this position and talk to kids about what we do and bridge the gap between the military and the civilian world is really the goal," explained Maj. Jason Markzon, Air Force Thunderbird Pilot 8. "Our mission is to recruit, retain, and inspire. We go around the country to upwards of 30-60 airshows a year."

Now on his second season with the airforce Thunderbirds, Markzon is the advanced pilot and narrator for the squadron, sitting in jet number 8.

One of those being the Aerospace Valley Air Show, which is coming back to Edwards Air Force Base after an 11-year hiatus.

"What's unique about Edwards is they're in a restricted air space so they control their own airspace which is way different than anyone other airports I've been too."

With over 2,000 flight hours under Markzon wings, he's not afraid to give a good show.

"If I'm flying the jet I love vertical rolls. But as a spectator, watching the diamond roll, where all the planes are on top of each other."

Markzon is a graduate of Arizona State University and says the flight route to this position wasn't always clear skies.

"Typically in ROTC you find out if you're going to be a pilot in your junior year. And I found out I wasn't going to be a pilot in my junior year so I looked for ways that I could be a pilot on active duty."

Markzon served on the 13th Fighter Squadron in Japan and he hopes to continue spreading his wings as a pilot on the Air Force Thunderbirds.

The Aerospace Valley Air Show will take place in October and Edwards Air Force Base and it will be your chance to see the Thunderbirds right here.