Civilian F-5 To Join Heritage Flight Program, Pyro Approved For F-22 And F-35 Demos

posted in: Airshows, Military, Popular Posts | 1

US Air Force Heritage Flight - AirshowStuff

An easy to overlook update from Air Combat Command has yielded some exciting developments with the Air Force’s single-ship demonstration and Heritage Flight programs!

The update in question is the publishing of the 2019 version of the Demo Team Support Manual; a long document which spells out all of the requirements that airshows must meet in order to host the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and A-10 Thunderbolt II demonstration teams during the season. These details are often mundane and invisible to spectators, like the number of required rental cars and mandated access to a 24/7 fitness center, but the manual does give a glimpse at the many factors that need to be carefully considered when planning an event. The 2019 version includes a couple of noteworthy mentions that will be very noticeable to spectators.

First, the Heritage Flight program is being expanded to include a Northrop F-5 fighter jet! The F-5 is an interesting addition because it was primarily exported to US allies and saw only limited USAF service. It will represent the Vietnam War era previously represented by USAF-operated F-4 Phantom IIs, which did not return to the Heritage Flight program after the 2013 sequestration year shut down all military demonstrations and left active service in 2016. This left the A-1 Skyraider as the only approved participant from that time period. F-5s did fly a couple thousand sorties in Vietnam, but certainly are not closely associated with the war.

The pilots in the program meet at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ every year for the Heritage Flight Conference, a weekend practice session to prepare for the upcoming airshow season. Civilian participation in the Heritage Flight is kept under tight control, and only a small group of specially approved pilots are allowed to fly in them, and only in certain aircraft types. Aside from the F-5, only P-51 Mustangs, P-38 Lightnings, P-40 Warhawks, P-47 Thunderbolts, F-86 Sabres, and A-1 Skyraiders are approved. There are several other privately owned fighter jets that could theoretically be included; an F-4 Phantom II flown by the Collings Foundation and a pair of F-100 Super Sabres are the most notable. Sadly, it seems likely that logistics and costs will prevent them from participating any time soon.

An interesting note is that while the F-5 is increasingly flown as a civilian warbird in the US, the US Navy and Marine Corps still actively use versions of the aircraft as aggressors during training and the T-38 Talon advanced trainer that was developed from the F-5 is a mainstay of the Air Force training fleet.

The other interesting takeaway from the support manual update is that pyrotechnics have been approved for use during the F-22 and F-35 demonstrations. The pyro is limited to a wall of fire on the high speed pass only, similar to the limitations already approved for the F-16 demo. The A-10 demo continues to be approved for additional pyro as it includes simulated strafing and bombing attacks in its routine. Most shows do not elect to use pyro with the demos, but it’s great that it will be more available in the future for those that do.

Find out where you can see the USAF single-ship demonstration teams in 2019 by visiting our airshow and aviation event calendar, and share your thoughts about the new F-5 on our forums!

AirshowStuff’s Top Ten Onboard Videos Of 2018

As our 13th year of airshow coverage comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at another awesome season of aviation and airshows!

Our onboard videos have long been highlights, as they take viewers to all sorts of special places. Whether on the wing of a small aerobatic aircraft, or in the cockpit of a supersonic fighter jet, onboard videos put you in the heart of the action. Here are ten of our favorite onboard videos from 2018!

We also have lists of our top ten warbird videos and our top ten military videos!

The US Navy Blue Angels Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before

This footage, released by the DOD, comes from a camera attached to the nose of Blue Angel #1. Watch as the rest of the famous formation team holds position through several maneuvers like the diamond roll and vertical break!

PACAF F-16 Demonstration – Arctic Aggressor Style!

The Pacific Air Forces F-16 Demonstration Team is not that well known in the US, as they are based at Misawa AB in Japan and primarily perform at international events. However, in 2018 they visited Elmendorf AFB in Alaska and borrowed a spectacularly-painted arctic aggressor F-16 for their performances.

Flying the Spitfire in Oshkosh

After showing us how to preflight the Mike Potter Collection’s Spitfire Mk. IX, pilot Dave Hadfield was kind enough to share some cockpit footage with us. Watch as he flies this legendary warbird through several passes during the airshow!

A-10 Warthog Aerobatics and Heritage Flight

We were also fortunate enough to work with the USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team this year at the Battle Creek Airshow. Strap into the cockpit for the full aerobatic performance and a Heritage Flight with a P-51 Mustang. We have more camera angles to share in the near future as well!

Ferrari vs. MiG-17 Race

Greg Howell, pilot of the Red Stripe MiG-17, sent us this footage of him racing the Precision Exotics Ferrari F430 at the 2018 Cannon AFB Air Show, Space and Tech Fest at Cannon AFB, NM. Watch as Greg swoops in down low right next to the speeding car – who will win the race?

Canadian Snowbirds Tank Cam

The Snowbirds were kind enough to share this tank cam footage with us after their performance at the NAS Oceana Airshow. Tank cam is a special camera housing mounted on the belly on Snowbird #1, providing spectacular views of the formation behind him! It’ll give you a new appreciation for the skill required to keep nine aircraft in formation during these loops and rolls.

Gamebird GB1 Aerobatics

Watching Philipp Steinbach fly the GameBird GB1 from the ground is impressive – the way this new aerobatic design snaps through maneuvers looks a lot more like an RC aircraft than any full size airplane should – but it is even more impressive to see it from this camera on the wingtip. Don’t blink or you’ll miss the crisp starts and stops!

Snowbird Pilot For A Day

This one is not strictly an onboard video, but it provides an awesome look into our flight with the Canadian Snowbirds, including radio comms!

F-18 Hornet Low Level Training and Star Wars Canyon Run

This footage, courtesy of Gotyacovered Photography, comes not from an airshow performance, but from real low level training. Join this F-18 pilot as he races over the trees, climbing and diving to follow the hills at high speed. Watch to the end to see a run through the famous Jedi Transition in Star Wars Canyon!

Low and Slow Over Oshkosh

Finally, enjoy some low and slow flying with a few trips around the ultralight runway traffic pattern at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. This twin-engine AirCam is gigantic compared to some of the other aircraft on display, but it easily drops into the grass strip for some short-field landings. The joy of flying at its most basic!

Remember to subscribe to our Youtube channel for even more onboard videos – we’re adding more all the time!

Interesting Observations From The 2019/2020 Military And Jet Team Schedules

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Military, Schedules | 3

USAF Thunderbirds and Crowd - AirshowStuff

Last week we got our best glimpse yet as to what the 2019 and 2020 airshow seasons will look like when the jet team and military demonstration schedules were announced at the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) Convention in Las Vegas. We here at AirshowStuff were the first to post them publicly, and you can review them here on our blog or in our forums.

Although much of the information is pretty standard, there are always some surprises and less obvious revelations tucked away in the list of dates and shows. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits we noticed:

  • One of the hottest topics in airshow circles these days is the RAF Red Arrows US/Canada tour in August and September. The Reds did have a couple of representatives at the convention, but they disappointed fans everywhere by not releasing a schedule with the rest of the teams. This wasn’t shocking really, but it does leave some fans stuck in limbo for travel plans. Stay tuned to AirshowStuff – we’ll bring you the schedule as soon as they do announce it!
  • The North American jet teams cross paths at least a few times each year, and 2019 is no exception. The real surprise is the show at Joint Base Andrews near Washington, D.C., which features a rare combination of the US Navy Blue Angels and USAF Thunderbirds plus the A-10 Warthog demo team. The Canadian Snowbirds will meet each US team once during the year; the Blue Angels in Ocean City, MD and the Thunderbirds in Abbotsford, BC.
  • Numerous shows will feature multiple single-ship demonstrations, but especially noteworthy are Milwaukee and Cleveland. Milwaukee has the benefit of sharing their weekend with EAA AirVenture just up the road in Oshkosh, WI, so it’s not shocking that they will get the Thunderbirds and the newly approved F-35 Lightning II Demo and also borrow the F-22 Raptor and F-16 Fighting Falcon from Oshkosh for a Heritage Flight. Hopefully Oshkosh gets something in return! Cleveland sees the Thunderbirds, but also gets the F-35 and A-10 demo teams in an unusual collection of Air Force teams at a civilian show.
  • Not counting a handful of US appearances in Canada, there are two international airshows on the schedules for the US teams. The Thunderbirds will head to Rionegro, Colombia in July, and the A-10 demonstration team will perform at Santa Lucia AB in Mexico in April. Both seem a little random, but at least the teams will not be gone on an extended tour.
  • The RCAF CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team will not be performing at any US shows in 2019. We noticed that their schedule was cut down significantly and hoped that additional shows might be approved later, but it was then reported that the season is intentionally being “condensed” amid personnel shortages and aircraft maintenances woes in the RCAF. This is definitely disappointing because the CF-18 carries a special paint scheme every year, so it’s a bit of a collector’s item among photographers.
  • One item that was noticed when the preliminary 2019 schedules were released a year ago is that the NAS Oceana Airshow will not host the Blue Angels for the first time in memory. In a strange twist, the Thunderbirds are scheduled for that one! The Blue Angels will instead be flying at NAS Lemoore in California, the first airshow there in many years. Oceana is also considered a favorite to land the Red Arrows during their US/Canada tour, so there is a real possibility of having two jet teams at Oceana but no Blue Angels.
  • The US Marines are bad at releasing schedules. Not only do they only list a few shows, there are always errors and inconsistencies with the more polished lists released by other organizations. This year is no exception. Just three AV-8B Harrier demonstrations were announced, and four MV-22 Osprey demonstrations. For the record, last year four of each were announced but roughly eight shows saw Osprey demos by the time the season was over. The problem is that the Marines do not have dedicated teams or pilots, they simply fly the demonstrations with regular units that have much less availability. Their schedules also don’t mention the Marine Corps Air Station airshows that end up hosting demonstrations.
  • Looking ahead to the preliminary 2020 schedules, the very first thing that screams off the page is a shortened Blue Angels season, ending in October. This isn’t an error; the season still ends with the traditional homecoming show in Pensacola, just a month before it usually takes place. This indicates an intentional extension to the off season, and comes just in time (actually a little early in our opinion) for the planned transition to Super Hornets. Nothing has been announced, but it sure looks like 2021 may be the first year in the new jets!
  • A more minor entry in the Blue Angels’ 2020 schedule is the airshow at CFB Cold Lake in Alberta. The Blues list the show as August 8-9, but the organizers were quick to start promoting July 18-19 instead. Normally this would be a simple date swap, but the July dates happen to be one of the rest weekends the team is obligated to take; the team cannot perform more than seven weekends in a row. These breaks were instituted following the fatal crash of Blue Angel #6 pilot Capt. Jeff Kuss in 2016. If the organizers are to be believed, this rest weekend will be filled and the schedule will show nine performance weeks between breaks. Expect some more shuffling to occur, but luckily there is plenty of time for all involved to sort it out.

Did you notice anything else interesting in the schedules? Who are you most looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on our forums!

USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team 2019 Airshow Schedule Released

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 0

USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team - AirshowStuff

Here is the 2019 airshow schedule for the US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team! Will you see them in 2019? Let us know! Post in the AirshowStuff Forums or on the AirshowStuff Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!

Schedules often change during the year – make sure to check out our airshow calendar for an updated list of airshows and aviation events, plus this and other major schedules all listed in one place! You can also check our forums for discussion on the schedule and shows!

2019 US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team Appearance Schedule

February 17: 19th Annual Stars and Stripes Air Show Spectacular – Laredo, TX

March 9-10: Yuma Airshow – MCAS Yuma, AZ
March 23-24: Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona Air and Space Expo – Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
March 30-31: Thunder Over the Bay – Travis AFB, CA

April 13-14: Wings Over South Texas Air Show – NAS Corpus Christi, TX
April 24-27: Feria Aeroespecial Mexico – Santa Lucia AB, Mexico

May 4: Manassas Airshow – Manassas, VA
May 11-12: JB Andrews Airshow – Joint Base Andrews, MD
May 18-19: Hangar 24 Airfest – Redlands, CA

June 15-16: Wings Over Whiteman – Whiteman AFB, MO
June 29-30: Quad City Air Show – Davenport, IA

July 3: Dubuque JayCees Radio Dubuque Air Show and Fireworks – Dubuque, IA
July 6-7: KC Air Show – Kansas City, MO
July 12-14: History of Flight Air Show – Geneseo, NY
July 27-28: Grand Junction Air Show – Grand Junction, CO

August 17-18: Edmonton Airshow – Edmonton, AB
August 24-25: Pocono Raceway Festival of Flight & Airshow – Long Pond, PA
August 31-September 2: Cleveland National Airshow – Cleveland, OH

September 7: Northern Illinois Airshow – Waukegan, IL
September 13-15: Airshow London – London, ON
September 28-29: Wings Over Wine Country Air Show – Santa Rosa, CA

October 5-6: The Great Pacific Airshow – Huntington Beach, CA

USAF Single-Ship Demo Team (F-22/F-16/A-10) 2018 Airshow Schedules Updated

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 0

US Air Force Heritage Flight - F-35 Lightning II, A-10 Warthog, P-51 Mustangs

Air Combat Command, which oversees the US Air Force single-ship demonstration teams, updated the 2018 airshow schedules for the F-22 Raptor, A-10 Warthog, and F-16 Fighting Falcon teams today. Several shows were removed after announcing cancellations, but several new appearances were added as well! Take a look at each schedule below and see if they’ll be performing near you in 2018.

2018 USAF F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team Schedule
2018 USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon Demonstration Team Airshow Schedule
2018 USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team Schedule
2018 USAF F-35 Heritage Flight Team Schedule

Rare USAF Heritage Flight Formation To Perform Super Bowl LII Flyover

posted in: Flyovers | 1

P-51 Mustang and A-10 Warthogs - USAF Heritage Flight

Keep your eyes to the sky (or more likely, your TV screen) before the kickoff of Super Bowl LII on February 4th – there will be a special US Air Force Heritage Flight flyover for the national anthem! The formation will feature the World War II-era P-51 Mustang “Sierra Sue II” leading two A-10 Warthogs and an F-16 Fighting Falcon.

It’s interesting that any flyover is planned, because the game is being played inside the fully enclosed U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Nevertheless, there will hopefully be sufficient coverage for everyone outside of the stadium to enjoy the flight. The game, between the Patriots and the Eagles, is scheduled to start at 6:30 pm eastern time and will be broadcast on NBC.

Sierra Sue II is a combat veteran P-51 that is owned by the Wings of the North museum, located just outside of Minneapolis in Eden Prairie. Heritage Flight-approved pilot Steve Hinton will be at the controls during the flyover.

USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team 2018 Airshow Schedule Released

posted in: Military, Schedules | 0

USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team

Here is the 2018 airshow schedule for the US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team! This is the first year for an aerobatic A-10 demonstration since sequestration. Will you see them in 2018? Let us know! Post in the AirshowStuff Forums or on the AirshowStuff Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!

Schedules often change during the year – for the latest updates please be sure to check our forums!

All demos unless stated otherwise include a USAF Heritage Flight.

2018 Appearance Schedule – US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team

March 10-11: Luke Days – Luke AFB, AZ

April 7-8: Heart of Texas Airshow – Waco, TX
April 14-15: Tuscaloosa Regional Airshow – Tuscaloosa, AL
April 21: Thunder Over Louisville, Louisville, KY

May 5-6: Planes of Fame Airshow – Chino, CA
May 12-13: MacDill Airfest – MacDill AFB, FL
May 19-20 – Anderson Regional Airshow – Anderson, SC
May 26-28: Salute to Veterans Celebration – Columbia, MO

June 16-17: Wings Over Northern Michigan – Gaylord, MI
June 23-24: Binghamton Airshow: Binghamton, NY
June 30-July 4: Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow – Battle Creek, MI

July 3: Dubuque Jaycees Radio Dubuque Airshow – Dubuque, IA (HF Only)
July 28-29: Tri-City Water Follies/HAPO Over The River – Kennewick, WA

August 3-5: Seafair – Seattle, WA
August 10-12: Abbotsford International Airshow – Abbotsford, BC
August 25-26: Fly Ottumwa – Ottumwa, IA

September 15-16: CAF High Sky Wing AIRSHO – Midland, TX
September 22-23: Osan Air Power Days – Osan AB, South Korea (Demo Only)*
September 29-30: Oregon International Airshow – Hillsboro, OR

October 6-7: Maryland Fleet Week and Airshow – Baltimore, MD
October 13-14: Wings Over North Georgia – Rome, GA
October 27: Hangar 24 AirFest – Lake Havasu City, AZ

November 3-4: SBD Fest – San Bernadino, CA

*Pending final approval

New Photo Album – Cleveland National Airshow 2017

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 1

USAF Thunderbirds - Cleveland National Airshow 2017

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! Check it out here:
Cleveland National Airshow 2017 – Ryan Sundheimer

Also be sure to check out our videos from the show on our Youtube playlist:

WATCH: The Best Of Military Aviation – September 2017

posted in: Featured Videos, Military | 0

Each month we bring you a compilation of the very best military aviation videos on our Youtube channel. These videos take you inside military operations all over the world for things like exercises, aircraft carrier operations, aerial refueling, and training missions. Please enjoy the February video, which you can watch below or view on Youtube: The Best Of Military Aviation – September 2017

A compilation of the best military aviation clips from September 2017. Featuring a A-10 Warthog cockpit footage, B-52 Stratofortress operations, US Marine Corps aerial refueling of F-35 Lightning IIs and AV-8B Harriers, F-35 Lightning II and helicopter aircraft carrier operations aboard the USS Kearsarge and USS Gerald R Ford, and more!

Be sure to check out the other videos in the series as well by checking out the Best of Military Aviation video playlist!

This footage is courtesy of the Department of Defense and we are posting it solely for the enjoyment of our viewers. Its use is not meant to imply any endorsement of any kind.

Video credits:
Petty Officer 1st Class Josue Escobosa – Navy Media Content Services
Staff Sgt. Shellby Matullo – 1st Combat Camera Squadron
Seaman Clint Davis – Navy Media Content Services
Master Sgt. Andrew Moseley – 379th Air Expeditionary Wing
Tech. Sgt. Joe Laws – USS Kearsarge (LHD 3)
Tech. Sgt. Joseph J Prouse – 129th Rescue Wing
Lance Cpl. Carlos Jimenez and Cpl. Waiyan Tin – Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
Senior Airman James Merriman – 1st Combat Camera Squadron
Lance Cpl. Jonathon Wiederhold – 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Combat Camera
Airman 1st Class Stephanie Gelardo – 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Senior Airman James Merriman – 1st Combat Camera Squadron
Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Pankau – USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)

CONFIRMED: A-10 Warthog Aerobatic Demonstrations Returning In 2018!

posted in: Airshows, Military | 0

A-10 Thunderbolt II

Get ready Warthog fans! The wait is over. A-10 Warthog single-ship demonstrations will return to the skies at airshows across the nation in 2018.

In a statement released by Air Combat Command this week, we learned an A-10 demonstration team will be based at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. They will perform at approximately 14 airshows during the 2018 show season. This follows a Twitter post by the current A-10 Heritage Flight team, which we reported on last week, that hinted at a coming announcement. There is no word on what will happen to the current East Coast A-10 Heritage Flight Team, based at Moody AFB in GA.

You may remember due to budget restrictions and sequestration, single ship demos were restricted after the 2011 season. Heritage Flights were performed in 2012 and 2017, but no aerobatic demonstrations were allowed.

Here is the text of the announcement shared by ICAS and ACC:

The United States Air Force A-10 demonstration team will once again display the capabilities of the Thunderbolt II at approximately 14 shows throughout the 2018 air show season.

The A-10 demonstration team last flew in 2011. Since then, when it has participated in air shows, the A-10 has been either a static display aircraft or flown exclusively with the Air Force Heritage Flight program (in 2012 and 2017). In 2018, the Warthog will fly a full aerobatic demonstration and also perform in Heritage Flight demonstrations.

Specifically designed for close air support, the A-10’s combination of high and low speed maneuverability has made it a popular air show demonstration aircraft for many years. Beginning next year, the A-10 demo team – based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona – will be flown by Captain Cody Wilton.

Are you excited to see the return of Warthog demos? What shows do you think may get an A-10 demonstration in 2018?

Visit our forums to discuss this exciting news!

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