After nearly a decade the world-famous Thunderbirds are returning to the 2019 STIHL National Championship Air Races.

When the U.S. Air Force pilots take to the Nevada skies Sept. 14-15, spectators will be captivated by their impressive formation flying and daring solo routines. The Thunderbirds will perform nearly 40 maneuvers including a ground show and air demonstration that shows off the training and skill of the elite team of pilots as well as the extreme capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Although an impressive sight to see, it’s not all for show. The Thunderbirds are part of the combat force and, if called to duty, can immediately integrate into a fighter unit at Nellis Air Force Base located just outside of Las Vegas, Nev.

The demonstration unit was formed in 1953 at Luke Air Force Base, just six years after the U.S. Air Force was created. Today, the unit is composed of eight pilots, four support officers, four civilians and more than 100 enlisted personnel performing in almost 30 job specialties.