THROUGH THE LENS: 2018 Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course
Report by Steven Valinski
Photos by Paul Negri and Steven Valinski
March 23, 2018
The 2018 Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course took place Feb. 28 to Mar. 4, 2018 and was hosted by Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.
According to Davis-Monthan AFB, “Civilian pilots of historic military aircraft and Air Force pilots of current fighter aircraft will practice flying in formation together during the HFTCC. Heritage Flights raise public awareness of the Air Force mission and commemorate its history.”
The flying portion of the training took place March 1-4 and featured the F-35 Lightning II, F-22 Raptor, F-16 Fighting Falcon and the A-10 Thunderbolt II representing modern USAF Air Combat Command aircraft and the P-51 Mustang, P-40 Warhawk, P-38 Lightning and the F-86 Sabre representing the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation and USAF airpower of the past.
According to the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation, “The Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was formed on December 6, 2010 with the primary charitable mission of providing Heritage Flights to the public. These performances feature modern fighter and attack aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korea and Vietnam-era planes in a dramatic display of our nation’s air power history. Our formations serve as a living memorial to the men and women who have served—or are currently serving—in the U.S. Air Force and we proudly fly in support of Air Force recruiting and retention efforts.”
During the four days of flying the F-35, F-22, F-16 and A-10 Demo Teams work on their routines for the 2018 air show season while the airpower, past and present, work together on formation flying.
“It’s important they learn to fly alongside each other because it’s not something we normally do,” said Capt. Gregory George, Heritage Flight project officer in a USAF Interview. “These formations are a little different and need to be taught in order for them to look correct and make it safe for air shows.”
“Heritage Flight is a way that we connect the Air Force’s past with the present,” said Col. Scott Campbell, 355th Fighter Wing commander in a USAF interview. “I think it’s an awesome opportunity to have the demo team pilots and Heritage Flight pilots here to train together and share their stories. To be around airpower legends and pick their brains is an absolutely amazing opportunity.”
The busy air show season has already begun and this valuable training has translated to spectacular single ship demos and dramatic formations of warbirds flying alongside modern jets for spectators at the shows.
The USAF Heritage Flight performances are a way of showcasing USAF airpower past and present while connecting with people of all ages. The Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course held at Davis-Monthan AFB annually helps ensure precision and safety with these performances.
Here’s a look at some of the action from the training…