U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin Statements on F-35A Aerial Demonstration at Paris Air Show
U.S. Air Force Statement:
Due to the Air Force's limited number of aircraft, pilots and maintenance professionals, we have decided not to develop an F-35 demonstration profile for airshows this year.While we look forward to demonstrating the unparalleled maneuverability of the F-35 to the world, we remain singularly focused on bringing the full combat capability of the F-35 to our nation.However, Lockheed Martin pilots have been building a flight demonstration in simulators and will now practice the demonstration in advance of the Paris Air Show.
The Air Force plans to develop and perform F-35 demonstrations beginning in 2018.We will build our demonstration profile based on the experiences and lessons learned from F-35 participation in other airshows and the Lockheed Martin demonstration at the 2017 Paris Air Show.
It is important to make clear the distinction between the F-35 Heritage Flight Team and Air Force demonstration teams, such as the Air Force Thunderbirds and the F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team.A demonstration involves an aircraft performing aerobatics, while the F-35 Heritage Flight Team's flight profile includes only straight-pass flyovers alongside other aircraft.In order to perform aerobatics, pilots and aircraft must be trained and certified to do so.
For background, in 2016 the Air Force stood up the F-35 Heritage Flight Team at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, as a first step in showcasing this amazing fighter jet to the public.The team performed at 15 airshows in 2016 and are scheduled for 14 airshows in 2017.
Lockheed Martin Statement:
Lockheed Martin is proud to team with the USAF to provide the first ever F-35A aerial demonstration at the Paris Air Show. We’ve been working on developing an F-35A demonstration profile and our demonstration test pilot has been practicing the routine in the simulator.We are now ready to begin practice flights at our F-35 production facility in Fort Worth in the coming days to be ready to showcase the F-35 capabilities at the Paris Airshow.