Thunderbirds Pilot Encourages Kids to Chase Their Dreams
Never in a million years did Maj. Whit Collins think he'd be a Thunderbird.
An Air Force brat, Collins says his dad "never pushed" the Air Force on him. He says it was a chance meeting with a Thunderbird as a kid that made him want to join and subsequently try out for the team.
"It happened between '94 and '96 because we were living at Warner Robins, Georgia at the time," said Collins.
"They had an air show at the base and I went to it," he added. "Afterwards, they had a little reception and I met him kind of coming out of the bathroom and he dropped on a knee, looked me right in my eyes and told me I could be a great pilot if I wanted to be."
The encounter stuck with Collins, and now roughly 25 years later he's the slot pilot for the Thunderbirds, flying the No. 4 jet.
"I love going out there, meeting kids and telling them, 'Hey, you can grow up to be whatever you want to be,'" said Collins. "If you want to be a Thunderbird that's really awesome, but even if you don't ... you owe it to yourself to go out there and chase your dreams."