The A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team’s aircraft will be sporting a new look in the near future! After rumors earlier this year, several mentions have begun appearing online indicating that an A-10 is currently in the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron (EMS) paint shop at Davis-Monthan AFB getting a special color scheme to be flown on the airshow circuit in 2020.
The scheme is said to be inspired by a P-51 Mustang from World War II. The team shared a short teaser clip of an A-10 with green paint on the top of the nose and fuselage, but no other firm details are available on what Mustang it may be patterned after and what it will look like. Special paint schemes are fairly rare, so this is very exciting news for photographers and fans who will be eager to catch the new design in 2020.
The 107th Fighter Squadron “Red Devils” out of Selfridge ANGB in Michigan has had one of their A-10s painted up in a spectacular paint scheme for a couple of years now. It features dark green paint, invasion stripes, and a giant version of the unit’s devil emblem. The A-10 Heritage Flight Team (before it became the full demo team) borrowed the jet during the Selfridge airshow in 2017. We caught it departing from the EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh last year.
Aside from the exciting paint news, the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) has also noted that the A-10 Demo Team has been granted FAA permission to perform in the “Category II” aerobatic box.
Aerobatic boxes come in three sizes – Category I is for the fastest aircraft, which are required to maintain 1,500 feet of lateral separation from the crowd. Category II is a 1,000 foot show line, while Category III is for small aircraft (think Extra/Pitts) which must maintain 500 feet from the crowd.
The change appears to have been driven by the EAA AirVenture airshow this year, where the A-10 performed alongside the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II demo teams. Although EAA does not have a Category I box (except for certain years with special arrangements), the A-10 was allowed to perform a full demo while the other teams were restricted to non-aerobatic passes.
The statement from ICAS indicates that this is a permanent change going forward, which means that the A-10 will be able to perform at other events which don’t have a Cat I box. Even if a show does have a Cat I box (most do), the A-10 will be allowed to fly 500 feet closer than in the past.
Each of these updates is exciting in its own right, but together they mean we should be getting some excellent looks at the famous Warthog in the near future!
Be sure to follow AirshowStuff for information on the A-10 Demo Team’s 2020 schedule when it is released in early December, and check out our airshow calendar to find 2019 airshow dates near you!
What do you think the new scheme will look like? Check in to our forums to add your thoughts and for any further updates that come available!