The F-22 Raptor set the precedent nine years ago when it flew at AirVenture; this year it was a favorite on the ramp and in the air. It was joined at the show on Wednesday by two F-35A Lightning IIs from the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base.
The F-22, the world’s first fifth-generation fighter, was once too secret to be seen in public. How that has changed!
But the F-22 still draws crowds on the grounds, and amazes all with its thrust-vectored agility in the air. It is flown here by Maj. John Cummings, an Appleton, Wisconsin, native who is the 2015 demo pilot for the F-22 nationwide. His father marshaled the plane in while his family and friends stood waving. His 3-year-old son, Dylan, held up a sign reading “Nice landing dad!”
Here’s the secret behind the F-22’s agility: thrust-vectoring exhaust nozzles.
The F-35A seemed deceptively small on the ground as it taxied in.
But it suddenly seemed larger again when given scale by a nearby marshal.
This is where all the noise comes from: the F-35A is powered by a Pratt & Whitney F-135.
Full frontal: the F-35A shows off its radar-minimizing shape.
The U.S. Air Force’s latest and stealthiest fighter aircraft, the F-35A Lightning II, appears at its first-ever civilian air show, joined by the F-22 Raptor.
John has led Aviation Week's ShowNews, the best-read daily news magazine of aerospace trade shows, for nearly two decades. His background in business journalism before joining Aviation Week includes stints at Reuters, the American Banker daily banking newspaper and as business news editor at the Milwaukee Journal and the Cincinnati Enquirer.