CHAPTER 1Draft Your Team to Trust

It was a gorgeous day in the middle of the Thunderbirds’ show season, and we were flying over some of the most breathtaking countryside I had ever seen. The radios were crisp, and from the moment we released brakes we were hitting all the marks in a compressed maneuver sequence we had been perfecting for months.

The four of us completed our reposition behind the crowd line and then stabilized for just a second. The moment we passed over those 40,000 people, I pulled the trigger on the next maneuver. The 4 G* pull that started our trail-to-diamond cloverloop stabilized, and just as we approached the vertical I called the three jets behind me to move from their trail position to our signature diamond.

At the start ...

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