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Heritage Flight Training Course 2015 at Davis-Monthan


 
 

Davis-Monthan March 2015.

Article and pictures by Ronald de Roij


In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the Heritage Flight program was founded in 1997. Heritage Flight performances of current fighter/attack aircraft flying with World War II, Korea and Vietnam era fighters displaying USAF airpower history and to honour those who have served, or are currently serving, in the USAF. In 2010, the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation, a non-profit organization, was formed to keep this popular program flying.

For safety reasons an annual aerial demonstration training event has been held at D-M since 2001, providing civilian and military pilots the opportunity to practice flying in formation for the upcoming air show season.

During the course, aircrews practiced ground and flight training to enable civilian pilots of historic military aircraft and U.S. Air Force pilots of current fighter aircraft to fly safely in formations together.

The annual aerial demonstration training event has been held at Davis-Monthan since 2001, providing civilian and military pilots the opportunity to practice flying in formation for the upcoming air show season. The U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight program presents the evolution of USAF air power by flying todayís state-of-the-art fighter aircraft in close formation with vintage fighter aircraft. A Heritage Flight performance involves a current USAF fighter piloted by an Air Combat Command trained military Heritage Flight pilot and flown with a historical warbird piloted by a trained and certified civilian Heritage Flight pilot.
 

 

 

The aircraft that participated in this yearís Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course were the historic P-51 Mustang, P-40 Warhawk, P-38 Lightning, P-47 Thunderbolt and the F-86 Sabre. From the Air Force side two F-22 Lightning's flew in from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, while three F-16 Falcon's arrived from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina to participated in the training. As they are the solo teams for the Air force Combat Command display program for this year.

Currently, the F-22 and F-16 Single-Ship Demonstration Teams are the only active duty participants of the Heritage Flight Program. When the program started in 1997, the Air Force celebrated itsí 50th Anniversary as a separate branch of the military. In support of the celebration, Air force Combat Command started flying dissimilar formation flights consisting of our F-15, F-16, and A-10 Single-Ship Demonstration Teams combined with Civilian Warbird Pilots flying A-1ís, A-36ís, P-40ís, P-51ís, P-47ís, P-38ís, and F-86ís. The response was an overwhelming favourite during air shows, so Air Force Combat Command designed and approved a formal program, The USAF Heritage Flight Program, to continue these flights throughout future air show seasons.

The F-22 Single-Ship Demonstration Team and active duty F-4ís were added to the program in 2005 and the F-15E Strike Eagle Single-Ship Demonstration Team was added in 2006. In 2010, the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation was formed to keep this popular program flying. In 2012, the former A-10 and F-16 Single-Ship Demonstration Teams became Heritage Flight Teams only and the F-15E Strike Eagle Demonstration Team was deactivated.

In 2013, due to funding concerns, the USAF cancelled all support for the program and the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation increased its commitment to the program and kept it alive by flying Heritage Flight with warbirds only. Air force Combat Command aircraft did not participate. In 2014, Air force Combat Command reactivated the F-22 Single-Ship Demonstration Team and one F-16 Heritage Flight Team, and in 2015, the F-16 Heritage Flight team once again became a Single-Ship Demonstration Team.

The Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation celebrates U.S. air power history by providing 40Ė60 annual Heritage Flight demonstrations around the world. Heritage Flights are flown at events ranging from open houses and air shows to sporting events, parades and funerals.
 

 


 
 

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