The USAF F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team will be cutting a number of planned airshow performances this year due to fleet-wide engine issues. This surprising news was confirmed by the team earlier today.
The Pratt & Whitney engines in the Air Force F-35A fleet have reportedly been operating at higher than expected temperatures. This, combined with underperforming materials within the engine is resulting in greater mechanical defects and wear from use. The worn out engines are taking longer to repair than expected, leading the fleet to face a shortage of replacement engines.
In response, Air Combat Command (ACC), which oversees the Air Force’s tactical fighters to include the F-35 Demonstration Team, has decided to cut back on the number of airshows that the F-35 team will support this year. The revised schedule is not yet finalized, but is expected to be about eight shows shorter than the original list of performances.
Some affected shows may have already received the news; the Great Tennessee Airshow in Smyrna recently replaced the F-35 Demo Team with the F-16 Demo Team on their website. It is likely that ACC will work to assign one of their three other demonstration teams – the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, and A-10 Thunderbolt II – to shows which fall off of the F-35 schedule.
Stay tuned to our forums for more information on the schedule changes and other airshow information. You can also check out our airshow calendar page to find airshows and events near you!