Major Changes to 2018 F-35 Lightning II Airshow Schedule

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Military, Schedules | 4

USAF F-35 Lightning II

A recent update to the ACC schedule has removed five shows originally scheduled for 2018. This comes after a few shows were added to the schedule a few weeks ago.

The canceled shows are:
– Myrtle Beach, SC – April 28-29th
– MCAS Cherry Point, NC – May 5-6th
– Seattle, WA SeaFair – Aug 2-5th
– Reno Air Races, Reno, NV – Sept 14-16th
– Ft. Worth, TX – Oct 13-14th

At this time, the reason for the schedule change is unknown. AirshowStuff has reached out to ACC and the F-35 Heritage Flight team for a comment.

With the changes, the F-35 will perform in ten Heritage Flights this year and appear at two international shows as a static display. The team will also make a third, much requested performance at the Royal International Air Tattoo, known to many as RIAT at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, England in mid July.

This news comes after we learned the F-35 would be doing more than ever- adding extra flybys to it’s 2018 performance. In years prior, the aircraft would only takeoff and join up with the other aircraft for the Heritage Flight.

What are your thoughts on the schedule changes? Were you planning to go to any of the canceled shows? Join the discussion on our forums and let us know.

F-35 Lightning II Approved For Extra Flybys During 2018 Airshow Performances

posted in: Military | 0

USAF F-35 Lightning II

You’ll see a little bit more of the F-35 Lightning II this airshow season! We took a peek in the 2018 Air Combat Command support manual, and noticed that the F-35 Heritage Flight team is approved for a three-pass “mini-demo” at its performances this year!

NOTE: The F-35 profile will include three non-aerobatic solo passes, most likely before the first HF formation pass, for consistency between HF performances.

This is a bit of a let down for those who followed the rumors that the US Air Force’s F-35 would be upgraded to a full aerobatic demonstration after Lockheed Martin debuted an aerobatic profile at the Paris Airshow last year. However, it shows that the program is getting closer to a full-up demo.

In the mean time, we can look forward to an extra few passes from the jet at each airshow performance. There are no specifics on what the three flybys will be, but such mini-demos in the past have consisted of a photo pass, a high speed pass, and a slow speed/high alpha pass. The F-4 Phantoms flew this profile back when they were a part of the Heritage Flight, and both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon teams did the same prior to being reinstated to full aerobatic status. This year marks the A-10s first year back to an aerobatic profile.

The F-35 was added to the Heritage Flight program in 2016, and it has been limited to HF performances in the two seasons since. The aircraft typically takes off and immediately joins the formation, offering a solo flyby or two after the formation breaks apart. Most recently the F-35 has been performing a high speed pass and a pitch to land following the Heritage Flight. Along with the mini-demo, we could be looking at five solo flybys by the F-35.

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:

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.

BREAKING: US Air Force Approves Live-Fire Single-Ship Demonstrations Next Year

posted in: Military | 6

A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog Strafe - Hawgsmoke 2016

The US Air Force has decided to add live munitions to its single-ship demonstrations starting next year. The change was announced in a surprise press release today, distributed by Air Combat Command. Not all show sites will be eligible for the new demonstrations; the list will be finalized and released at this year’s ICAS convention.

“We’ve been wanting to share this with the public since our conference back in February,” said ACC Commander General Mike Holmes. “We’ve been planning this since [Secretary of Defense James] “Mad Dog” Mattis was sworn in. All credit needs to go to him. He was the one that brought up the idea and paved the way for us to bring something truly exciting to the air show circuit next year.”

The aircraft that will incorporate the live rounds are the A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-22 Raptor, and F-16 Fighting Falcon (Viper). The F-35 will not be participating for unspecified reasons. The A-10 will be restored to full demonstration status as part of the move; it currently is only permitted to perform in Heritage Flights. Each aircraft will conduct two strafing passes using their cannons and one bombing run with several bombs during their performances.

F-22 Raptor Weapons Nellis AFB Red Flag 2015USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon

When asked about the new addition to show line-ups, Mattis said, “Our folks at home need to see we ain’t messin’ around. They need to harden up and get some. They need to hear the rumble of the guns and feel the motivation to drop and give our boys in blue fifty.”

The US Navy will not pursue live-fire passes until 2020, deciding instead to focus on the upcoming plan for the Blue Angels to transition to unmanned drones.

Until next year, here’s a dose of some BRRRRRRRrrrrrrt to tide you over!

F-35 Will Debut At 2016 Abbotsford International Airshow

posted in: Airshows, Military | 0

USAF F-35 Lightning II

Big news came from the Abbotsford International Airshow August 5, 2016 with the announcement that a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II will be on public display at the show, which takes place on August 12th through the 14th in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The F-35 on display will be one from the 34th Fighter Squadron, 388th Fighter Wing out of Hill AFB, Utah. Alongside the Lightning II throughout the weekend will be Lockheed Martin Senior Test Pilot Billie Flynn, a former Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet pilot, to talk about the aircraft and its capabilities. This will be the first F-35 appearance in Canada.

While the F-35 is still a prospective replacement for the aging CF-18 Hornet fleet in Royal Canadian Air Force service, political support for the jet is falling. Lockheed Martin’s competitor Boeing is going to be showing off their F/A-18F Super Hornet at this year’s show as well with a company demonstration in addition to the already scheduled US Navy Super Hornet demontration. The corporate demo differs from the Navy’s routine in that the aircraft will perform to the edge of its limits while carrying a payload. The F-35 is sure to be the highlight of the ground portion while the F/A-18F will be the star of the aerial portion.

The Breitling Jet Team will be returning to perform at this year’s show along with the annual appearances by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet demo teams as well as the CFB Comox CH-149 Cormorant Search and Rescue demo. The show will also be welcoming the Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet Waco biplane and Gary Rower in his Stearman biplane to their first appearances at Abbotsford.

The aircraft, two in total, will arrive at the Abbotsford International Airport on Thursday Aug 11. For more information on the upcoming Abbotsford International Airshow, please visit www.abbotsfordairshow.com.

Red Arrows Aerobatic Show At Farnborough Forbidden After Shoreham Disaster

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 3

RAF Red Arrows

The Royal Air Force’s demonstration team, the Red Arrows, will not be performing their aerobatic routine as originally planned at the popular biennial Farnborough International Airshow held in the United Kingdom and scheduled for July 11-17 this year. Instead, the team will be performing formation flypasts during the show.

In a press release from the RAF published on June 15, the decision to forgo the display came down to the assessed risk it posed to local safety in the wake of last year’s Shoreham disaster. The release stated that the “high speed and dynamic nature of the traditional Red Arrows’ display is no longer appropriate due to the large amounts of local housing, business areas and major transport links underneath the planned display area.”

The planned flypasts currently include a formation of the team and the new Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II on July 11. The statement adds that “further Red Arrows flypasts in different formations are now planned for 15, 16 and 17 July.”

Airpower Over Hampton Roads Thunders Back To Life With Excellent 2016 Show

posted in: Airshows, Event Recap | 1

F-22 Raptor with open bomb bays - Airpower Over Hampton Roads 2016

After a five year absence, airplanes and skydivers once again soared through the skies of Hampton, Virginia at Joint Base Langley-Eustis’ Airpower Over Hampton Roads airshow April 22nd-24th, 2016.

Langley, which was scheduled to hold an airshow in 2013 but had to cancel it due to sequestration. The return of Airpower Over Hampton Roads kicked off Langley’s 100th anniversary celebration, which will last through all of 2016.

Headlining Airpower Over Hampton Roads were the USAF Thunderbirds. Langley is unique because as far as airshows go, it’s one of the very few places where you can see the F-22 Raptor demonstration and the Thunderbirds at the same airshow. However, mother nature wasn’t too kind to the show. The Thunderbirds’ performance on Friday (practice day) had to be canceled due to thunderstorms which blew around objects on the field and brought dangerous lightning. The Friday night show and concert was canceled. Saturday, while starting off beautiful, also turned stormy right before the F-22 demo team was scheduled to begin their demonstration. The rest of the airshow was canceled out of an abundance of caution, leaving just Sunday to see the Thunderbirds fly.

Strike Eagle lands at Langley AFBRob Holland flies at Langley AFB

Sunday was bright and sunny, with the cold front that brought the stormy weather having moved through and to the south of the area. With cool temperatures, it was a perfect airshow day. All aircraft were able to fly, and the Thunderbirds finished off the day with their high show performance.

While the storms caused some trouble, they certainly provided for excellent photo opportunities. Check out what Randy Ball’s MiG-17 looked like against the stormy skies! We’ve also included a few preview pics. Our full album will be up soon.

Randy Ball at Airpower Over Hampton Roads 2016

Thunderbirds Taxi InUSAF Thunderbird Helmet - Airpower Over Hampton Roads

Static displays included a B-1 Bomber, C-17 Globemaster III, C-130 Hercules, F-15 Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Warthog, EF-2000 Typhoon, NASA Langley aircraft and Langley’s own F-22s and T-38s.

The airshow featured a rare treat – a 3-ship Heritage Flight including a P-51 Mustang, F-35 Lightning and the F-22 Raptor! Check out our video of the entire F-22 Raptor demonstration, including an F-35 afterburner takeoff and the Heritage Flight!

Also check out our other videos from the show in our Airpower OVer Hampton Roads 2016 playlist:

Two USAF F-35s to Flyover Sunday’s NASCAR Race

posted in: Flyovers, Military | 0

USAF F-35 Lightning II - Luke AFB - NASCAR Flyover

Two F-35 Lightning IIs from Luke AFB will perform the flyover of Sunday’s NASCAR race (3/13/16) from Phoenix International Raceway. The race, which can be viewed on your local FOX affiliate around 3:30 pm Eastern, is not far from the base. Time on target is 3:32:30 exactly and the jets will fly from turn 4 to turn 1!

This isn’t the first time F-35s from Luke have performed flyovers. You may remember jets from Luke performed the flyover for the Pro-Bowl in January of 2015.

USAF F-35s will also be participating in 2016 Heritage Flights, flying alongside current USAF aircraft and historic fighters from previous conflicts. You can view the 2016 schedule for the F-35A Heritage Flights here!

FLYOVER ALERT: F-35 Flyover for Phoenix NASCAR Race

posted in: Flyovers | 0

F-35

Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, AZ will feature an F-35 flyover before the race. U.S. Senator John McCain will also be on hand to serve as the Grand Marshall.

The F-35 will come from Luke AFB, a nearby USAF training base in Glendale home to the 56th Fighter Wing which flies F-16s and F-35s. Over time, 144 F-35As will be based at Luke. The 61st and 62nd Fighter Squadron fly the F-35A. The 61st FS is fully operational and the 62nd FS is expected to be fully operational by 2017.

With the green flag scheduled for around 2:45pm EDT, expect the flyover around 2:28 pm EDT. The race will be shown on NBC. ‘

Photo courtesy of Lockheeed Martin.