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!

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 Announces F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team To Debut In 2019

posted in: Military | 0

USAF F-35A Lightning II - AirshowStuff

Airshow fans can look forward to a new jet demo on the airshow circuit next year!

Air Combat Command announced today that the F-35A Lightning II group will be upgraded from a “Heritage Flight Team” to a full-up “Demonstration Team” to bring it in line with the other US Air Force single-ship demo teams which fly the F-22 Raptor, A-10 Thunderbolt II, and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

ACC actually leaked the news a bit early by posting the team’s new “Demo Team” patch on their website a couple weeks ago. We embargoed the news at the team’s request and the patch was quickly taken down pending the official announcement.

The 2019 demonstration pilot will be Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson, who flew as the team’s display pilot in 2018 and earned rave reviews for his flybys.

Fans have been asking about an F-35A demo for years. The USAF F-35 Heritage Team began performing in 2016. Instead of jumping straight to an aerobatic routine with the brand new aircraft, the performance was limited to performing Heritage Flights and some non-aerobatic solo flybys. Now, with a few years of airshow experience and a more mature aircraft, the team is being allowed to turn it loose and show off more dynamic maneuvers.

“The past year’s demonstration was sort of like an ‘appetizer’ if you will,” said Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson, F-35 Demonstration Team pilot and commander. “The new profile this year will be the full ‘five-course meal’ showing fans everything this jet is capable of.”

According to Olson, the new 13 minute-long profile will highlight the F-35A Lightning II’s numerous capabilities to include speed, agility, and high-G turning.

“What makes the fifth generation fighter so special in general is the slow-speed, high angle of attack maneuvering it can do,” Olson said. “We’re also going to be performing controlled flat spins while falling out of the sky as well as high-speed passes and vertical climbs.”

Lockheed Martin test pilot Billie Flynn finally put the F-35A through its paces at the 2017 Paris Airshow, and many expected that it signaled a military demonstration would follow. In fact, reports from that time indicated the Air Force was working closely with Lockheed on establishing the routine in preparation for launching this demo team in 2018. That obviously didn’t happen, but the team’s flybys have gotten more aggressive with time. This is a very exciting development – the first new jet demonstration since the F-22 Raptor debuted over 10 years ago.

Wondering where you can see the F-35 next year? Luckily, the F-35 Demonstration Team’s 2019 schedule was also made public today!

Stay tuned to AirshowStuff for more details on this exciting new performance and be sure to add your thoughts on the news in our forums!

USAF F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team 2019 Airshow Schedule Released

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 6

US Air Force F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team - AirshowStuff

Here is the 2019 airshow schedule for the US Air Force F-35 Lightning 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 F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team Appearance Schedule

March 24-25: Thunder and Lightning Open House – Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ (Heritage Flight Only)
March 30-31: Melbourne Air and Space Show – Melbourne, FL

April 6-7: Heart of Texas Airshow – Waco, TX
April 27-28: Wings Over Wayne Airshow – Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC

May 18-19: Defenders of Liberty Air Force Air and Space Exposition – Barksdale AFB, LA
May 25-26: Miami Beach Air & Sea Show – Miami Beach, FL

June 22-23: Spectacle Aerien International de Bagotville – Bagotville, QC

July 13-14: Eielson Open House and Air Show – Eielson AFB, AK
July 20-21: Duluth Air and Aviation Expo – Duluth, MN
July 27-28: Milwaukee Air & Water Show – Milwaukee, WI

August 24-25: New York Air Show – New Windsor, NY
August 31-September 2: Cleveland National Air Show – Cleveland, OH

September 20-22: Oregon International Air Show – Hillsboro, OR

October 5-6: The Great Pacific Airshow – Huntington Beach, CA
October 11-13: San Francisco Fleet Week – San Francisco, CA
October 18-20: Wings Over Houston Airshow – Houston, TX
October 26-27: Jacksonville Sea & Sky Spectacular – Jacksonville Beach, FL

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

USAF F-35 Lightning II Heritage Flight Team 2018 Airshow Schedule Released

posted in: Military, Schedules | 10

USAF F-35 Lightning II Heritage Flight Team

Here is the 2018 airshow schedule for the US Air Force F-35 Lightning II Heritage Flight Team! 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!

2018 Appearance Schedule – US Air Force F-35 Lightning II Heritage Flight Team

March 17-18: Luke Air Force Base, AZ
March 23-24: NAS Kingsville, TX

April 3-8: FIDAE – Santiago, Chile (Static only)
April 25-29: ILA Berlin – Berlin, Germany (Static only)

May 25-27: Miami, FL

June 9-10: North Kingston, RI
June 15-17: Ocean City, MD

July 13-15: Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) – RAF Fairford, United Kingdom (HF profile fly by/static)

August 10-12: Offutt Air Force Base, NE
August 17-19: Chicago, IL
August 31-September 2: CIAS – Toronto, Ontario

September 21-23: California Capitol Airshow – Sacramento, CA

October 1-6: USAF Academy Football Game / CORONA

WATCH: Blue Angels Soar Over Pensacola Beach With F-35s At Sunset

posted in: Jet Teams | 1

One of the traditions of the US Navy Blue Angels is the “beach buzz”; each time the team returns from an airshow trip to their home base of NAS Pensacola, they fly down Pensacola Beach in formation as a salute to the community that supports them.

As the team returned home from the NAS Jacksonville airshow tonight, they did just that. However, on an unusual second pass over the beach, they were accompanied by two extra aircraft!

Two F-35 Lightning IIs took formation on the left and right sides of the Delta formation to make an 8-ship formation! Check out the video below:

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)

Relive EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 With These 20 Amazing Videos

As we continue to count down to EAA AirVenture, we’re going back through some of our videos from previous years and, no surprise, finding some incredible moments. Each year, AirVenture brings together such a diverse mix of aircraft, performers, and fans. There is really no other event like it in the world!

Here are our 20 favorite videos from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015! If you want to skip ahead, just go ahead and check out our EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 playlist that features all 65(!) of our videos from the show.

20. Gusty Crosswind Arrivals and Departures (Monday) – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

19. Valdez STOL Competition (Monday) – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

18. Battle of Britain Tribute – Lancaster, Mosquito, Spitfire – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

17. Helicopters and Autogyros at the Ultralight Field – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

16. Helmet Cam – T-34 Mentor Mass Formation Arrival – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

15. 108-Person Mass Formation Skydive – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

14. Texas Flying Legends Warbirds (B-25, P-40, F4U, P-51, TBM, A6M2) – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

13. USAF F-22 Raptor Mini-Demo and Heritage Flight – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

12. RideAlong! P-51 Mustang Heritage Flight with P-38 and F-22 – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

11. USMC AV-8B Harrier Demo “From the Ditch” – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

10. Mustang Mania! Mass P-51 Mustang Takeoffs, Formation, and Flybys – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

9. Minimum Interval Departures on Runway 27 (Thursday) – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

8. “Tora Tora Tora” Pearl Harbor Reenactment – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

7. Airbus A350 Arrival and Demonstration – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

6. USMC AV-8B Harrier II+ Twilight Demo “From the Taxiway” – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

5. F-100 Super Sabre Twilight Afterburner – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

4. Burt Rutan Tribute – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

3. Military Departures Compilation (F-22s/F-35s/F-4/AV-8Bs/B-52) – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

2. F-35 Lightning II Low Approaches and Arrival – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

1. USAF F-4 Phantom II Twilight Demonstration – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

First F-35A Lightning II Aerobatic Performance Planned For 2017 Paris Airshow; USAF Demos To Follow In 2018

posted in: Airshows, Military | 0

USAF and Lockheed Martin plan F-35 Demos for 2018

The United States Air Force and Lockheed Martin are reportedly starting to develop an aerobatic demonstration routine with their newest fighter jet, the F-35A Lightning II, for the 2018 airshow season. They have been developing the routine and practicing it in the simulator this year, and they are ready to begin practice flights at their F-35 production facility in Fort Worth.

Most of us will have to wait until 2018 to see the demo, but those attending the 2017 Paris Airshow will actually see the first performance. The Air Force says they will “build our demonstration profile based on the experiences and lessons learned from F-35 participation in other airshows and the Lockheed Martin demonstration at the 2017 Paris Air Show.”

The F-35 Heritage Flight Team stood up at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona in 2016. The team performed at 15 airshows in 2016 and is scheduled to perform at 14 airshows in 2017. It has not been announced where the demonstration team would be based out of, but the Heritage Team operates out of Luke AFB in Arizona. We’ll provide more information as we learn it.

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