Editor’s Note: In all the years I’ve been attending airshows, I’ve only seen the PACAF F-16 Demonstration one time–and that was in Alaska of all places. A lot of folks don’t realize there’s another Viper demo out there, but it is every bit as high-powered and high-energy as its stateside counterpart. The team draws its aircraft and personnel from the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base in Japan, where they fly the Block 50 F-16CJ.
Misawa Air Base is no stranger to the voice of the mighty F-16 Fighting Falcon, but since March 7 the sky and runway have been a stage to the performers of the Pacific Air Forces’ F-16 Demonstration Team.
The team is undergoing a personnel turnover and has been training its new members in preparation for upcoming airshows across the Pacific Theatre.
“The purpose of the demonstration team is to display the combat capabilities of the Air Force and the F-16 as well as to foster a productive relationship between the United States and our allies,” said Maj. Austin Brown, outgoing PACAF F-16 demonstration team pilot.
The demonstration team is comprised of two F-16 pilots, a demonstration pilot and a safety observer, accompanied by eight maintainers who cover every aircraft specialty. Both pilots possess years of experience and have served as flying instructors. The maintainers have been hand-selected and deemed the “best of the best” in their respective career fields.
“The Airmen on this team project the outstanding image of the Air Force,” said Brown. “We are often the first U.S. military personnel foreign populations see and our first interaction is showing them this awesome display of airpower.”
Capt. Richard Smeeding, incoming PACAF F-16 demonstration pilot, said displaying airpower is what he’s looking forward to most.
“Most of the other demonstration teams out there are used for recruiting purposes, but we are also showcasing all combat capabilities of the F-16,” said Smeeding. “I show everything from flying slow slightly above the ground to almost hitting supersonic over the field, showcasing all aspects of what this aircraft can do.”
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