The coronavirus pandemic led to cancellations of many air shows in 2020. But those pilots who present their flying skills at such shows have continued to practice for the last year.
Ahead of their full return to the air show circuit, the F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team last year gave fans a glimpse into such practices—including video from inside the cockpit of the F-22.
See the full cockpit video here.
“For the very first time, we’re giving you an exclusive look at the complete F-22 Demo profile flown by Maj. Josh “Cabo” Gunderson,” the YouTube description said. “The F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team performs precision aerial maneuvers at airshows across the world to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the world’s premier 5th generation fighter aircraft. The team also performs with the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation to showcase modern day fighter jets flying in formation with World War II, Korean, and Vietnam era aircraft.”
Among other highlights, the video features what’s referred to as a Max Vertical Climb, J-Turn repositions, and much more, with cameras filming the action both inside the cockpit and from the outside. The video has nearly 1.5 million views.
The F-22 Raptor, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, has been around since 2005, although the last new one was delivered in 2012. The projected number of serial units of the Raptor was cut from an initial estimate of 750 down to 187. Retired Gen. Norton Schwartz told the story of how that happened in his recent memoir, Journey: Memoirs of an Air Force Chief of Staff.
The F-22 Demo Team has set a full schedule of air shows for the spring and summer of 2021. They’ll return to the air in Lakeland, Florida, April 16-18, and Cocoa Beach on the 17th and the 18th. In May, the Demo Team goes to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana from May 8 and 9, before heading to Baltimore May 15 and Latrobe, Pennsylvania on May 29 and 30.
In June, the team heads to Lake Charles, Louisiana on June 5 and 6, before appearing in Ocean City, Maryland on June 19 and 20, and heading north to Duluth, Minnesota, on June 26-27. Then, in July, the show heads to Battle Creek, Michigan, from July 2-4, before a July 4 show in Racine, Wisconsin.
The dates continue until October, with the team heading to Seoul Air Force Base in South Korea on October 19-24.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver. Image: Reuters.