Annual Heritage Flight Training Course Prepares for 2018 Season

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U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cheyenne A. Powers

With over 70 Heritage flights scheduled for the 2018 air show season, the annual Air Force Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course took place at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, March 1-4, to provide both military and civilian pilots an opportunity to finalize and formalize their preparations for the upcoming season. The event has been held each winter since 2001.

According to Air Combat Command Chief of Public Affairs Michelle Clougher, the training session provided pilots the opportunity to fly virtually every type of formation, from a simple two-ship to a wide variety of multiple aircraft formation configurations. Particular emphasis was given to ensuring that new pilots received the specific experience they needed to be certified to fly Heritage flights of different kinds throughout the 2018 air show season.

“We had three new active duty pilots that we were certifying,” Clougher said. “We have seven [civilian] Heritage Flight pilots and we got a new one this year.”

2018 Heritage flights will be conducted by a collection of renowned warbirds that include the P-38 Lightning, P-40 Warhawk, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustang, A-1 Skyraider and F-86 Sabre. As for active duty aircraft, Heritage flights will include the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II and the A-10 Thunderbolt II. The F-35 is the only active duty aircraft that will not perform combat capabilities demonstrations during the 2018 season.

“We tried to look at what we have going to an air show. If we have a predecessor of that aircraft, we try to match it so that you have the legacy of the aircraft in the air. And just to see that is phenomenal,” Clougher said. “The unique thing about the Heritage Flight is that it showcases the past, present and future. And it gives back to our veterans in a way that nothing else can.”

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The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is a trade association dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant air show industry to support its membership. To achieve this goal, ICAS demands its members operate their air show business at only the highest levels of safety, professionalism, and integrity.