Each year warbird pilots and USAF Air Combat Command demonstration pilots meet at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ to practice formation flying for the upcoming airshow season. This year’s conference included both the F-22 Raptor Demo Team and the F-16 Viper Demo Team, as well as a bunch of the nation’s most famous warbirds!
Civilian pilots brought a P-47 Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustangs, a P-40 Warhawk, a P-38 Lightning, and an F-86 Sabre to join the USAF’s F-22 and F-16. The F-22 flew to Davis-Monthan from Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, VA. The F-16s were from Shaw AFB in Sumter, South Carolina.
Capt. John Cummings, F-22 Raptor Demo Pilot told The Arizona Daily Star that it is a real honor to fly with the warbirds. “It’s not something everybody gets to do, and it’s the coolest part of my job,” Cummings said. “It’s fun to do all the maneuvers in the show, but when you get to do them with the warbirds, that’s the coolest part.”
You can look for all of these aircraft and pilots to participate in Heritage Flights at an airshow near you! Any shows appearing on the F-22 Demo Team schedule or F-16 Demo Team schedule are eligible for a Heritage Flight, but not all shows will be able or willing to pay for the warbird to participate.