Volunteer Susan Hammerling Takes A Ride On the Wild Side

By  //  March 14, 2015

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Hometown Hero Hitches ride with Thunderbirds

Susan Hammerling’s emotions were all over the map as she prepped for an unforgettable ride aboard one of the legendary United States Air Force Thunderbirds. The Melbourne resident was selected by the Thunderbirds for Hometown Hero recognition because of volunteer efforts with organizations such as The Haven, Space Coast Volunteers in Medicine and Brevard Guardian Ad Litem. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

The USAF “Thunderbirds,” shown here on the flight line at Patrick Air Force Base, is the air demonstration squadron of the United States Air Force. Created in 1953, the Thunderbirds are the third oldest formal flying aerobatic team in the world, after the U.S. Navy Blue Angels formed in 1946 and the French Air Force Patrouille de France formed in 1931. It is also one of the oldest squadrons in the Air Force, its origins dating to the organization of the 30th Aero Squadron in 1917. (Maria Sonnenberg image)

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Perform Saturday and Sunday At 3:30 p.m. With Awe-Inspiring Maneuvers At TICO Warbird Air Show

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Susan Hammerling’s emotions were all over the map as she prepped for an unforgettable ride aboard one of the legendary United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

Thunderbirds-fullThe Melbourne resident was selected by the Thunderbirds for Hometown Hero recognition because of volunteer efforts with organizations such as The Haven, Space Coast Volunteers in Medicine and Brevard Guardian Ad Litem.

“I’m scared, I’m excited, I’m terrified, I’ve got every emotion possible,” said Hammerling, a physician assistant with Florida Dermatology Associates.

ABOVE VIDEO: Parachuting, dogfights and amazing aerial feats will thrill you at the 38th Annual TICO Warbird Airshow coming March 13-15 to the Space Coast Regional Airport.

Susan Hammerling

Susan Hammerling

A month ago, when Hammerling received the call that notified her of her selection, she thought someone was pulling her leg.

“At first I thought it was a prank call,” she said.

On Thursday, Hammerling was being fitted for her Top Gun-type gear at Patrick Air Force Base, awaiting the arrival of the Thunderbirds, which flew in from their home base in Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, to wow the 65,000 visitors expected at the Tico Warbird Air Show, which runs from Friday, March 13, through Sunday, March 14.

TICO Warbird Airshow Features U.S. Air Force ThunderbirdsRelated Story:
TICO Warbird Airshow Features U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds close the show’s aerial performances in impeccable style each day at 3:30 p.m. with a one-hour show of awe-inspiring maneuvers.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, the show features military and civilian aircraft displays, flight simulators, airplane and helicopter rides and aerial demonstrations.

The show runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Tickets, which are $18 for adults and $5 for children five to 12, are available online at vacwarbirds.net or at the door.

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The 2015 TICO Warbird Airshow features this vintage B-25, along with 98-year-old Lt. Col. Dick Cole, Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot during the famous aircraft carrier-launched raid on Tokyo in April 1942. (Joan Moran Image)

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The USAF “Thunderbirds” is the air demonstration squadron of the United States Air Force. Created in 1953, the Thunderbirds are the third oldest formal flying aerobatic team in the world, after the U.S. Navy Blue Angels formed in 1946 and the French Air Force Patrouille de France formed in 1931. It is also one of the oldest squadrons in the Air Force, its origins dating to the organization of the 30th Aero Squadron in 1917. (Joan Moran Image)

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The USAF Thunderbirds flew in from their home base in Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada to wow the 65,000 visitors expected at the TICO Warbird Air Show, which runs from Friday, March 13, through Sunday, March 14. (Joan Moran Image)

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Every historic aircraft has a story to tell, and the “Tico Belle” has seen eight decades of aviation history, which means that it has a lot of stories in its background…. if only this airplane could talk. From the Normandy invasion to Cherbourg, to Arnhem, to Bastogne, to the Berlin Airlift and much more, this aircraft was there – more than 70 years ago. Today, the “Tico Belle” is a flying extension of the Valiant Air Command museum with an important mission to educate the public about military history and what it meant to not only serve in World War II, but to have been present when so many sacrificed so much in the service of this Country. (Joan Moran Image)

JOAN-MORAN-Thunderbirds-580-3

Every historic aircraft has a story to tell, and the “Tico Belle” has seen eight decades of aviation history, which means that it has a lot of stories in its background…. if only this airplane could talk. From the Normandy invasion to Cherbourg, to Arnhem, to Bastogne, to the Berlin Airlift and much more, this aircraft was there – more than 70 years ago. Today, the “Tico Belle” is a flying extension of the Valiant Air Command museum with an important mission to educate the public about military history and what it meant to not only serve in World War II, but to have been present when so many sacrificed so much in the service of this Country. (Joan Moran Image)

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