Editor’s Note: The U.S. Air Force recently held its annual certification conference for its Heritage Flight airshow display team, a conference held at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base outside of Tucson, Arizona. All of Air Combat Command’s tactical demonstration teams–the F-22 Raptor, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and now the F-35 Lightning II–were on hand to fly with specially-selected civilian warbird pilots to hone their skills in flying formations depicting several generations of U.S. Air Force fighters. Everything from P-51 Mustangs to F-86 Sabres to P-38 Lightnings were present, flying wingtip to wingtip with the modern fighters. If you’ve never seen it, it’s one of the most moving aerial displays you’ll ever see.

Aviation and F-35A fanatics have something special to look forward to this 2016 air show season.

The Lightning II qualified March 6 at the Heritage Flight Conference at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona to take part in the Air Combat Command Air Force Heritage Flight program.

The program features modern USAF fighter aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korean and Vietnam-era aircraft in a dynamic display of our nation’s airpower history.

Staff Sgt. Nikolas Kinder, F-35 Lightning heritage flight crew chief, participates in the Heritage Flight Conference at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., March 4-6, 2016. The F-35 heritage flight team from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. is the first F-35 team to participate in the Heritage Flight Program. The program features modern USAF fighter aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korean and Vietnam era aircraft in a dynamic display of our nation's air power history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Staci Miller)
Staff Sgt. Nikolas Kinder, F-35 Lightning heritage flight crew chief, participates in the Heritage Flight Conference at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., March 4-6, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Staci Miller)

“Being a part of these heritage flights allows the world to learn more about the F-35 and at the same time see just how far airpower has come over the years,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, the 56th Fighter Wing commander. “The F-35 will be the backbone of the Air Force fighter fleet and represent the future for the U.S., our partners and allies. This will be a great opportunity for everyone to see how amazing the F-35 is.”

The F-35 heritage flight team includes one pilot and 10 maintainers, all selected from the 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base.

“My team and I are very excited for this year,” said Maj. William Andreotta, F-35 heritage flight team pilot. “We’re so honored to be the first ever F-35 heritage flight team. We are really laying the foundation for years to come. We know it’s going to be a great season and we’re ecstatic about talking with different communities and showcasing the F-35.”

The original article in its entirety, as well as a schedule of events where the F-35 will be flying, can be found here.

(Featured photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

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