The U.S. Air Force A-10 demonstration team finally returned to the air show scene this year, following a 5 year long inactivation period.
They scheduled 10 appearances around the country, but currently can only participate with a static display aircraft, or fly exclusively with the Air Force Heritage Flight program, which brings the past and present of USAF aviation together in symbolic formation.
And while that is quite popular to many, there will be a long-awaited added change coming next year, as the USAF and International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) has confirmed the A-10 will return to full flight demos in 2018.
“It’s great to have the A-10 back on the air show circuit as a part of the Heritage Flight,” said Maj. Daniel Levy, 357th Fighter Squadron and A-10 demo pilot. “The Warthog has flown close air support for American and allied forces almost every day for the past 15 years. It’s the perfect mix of old and new.”
The team is currently scheduling appearances at 14 shows to display the capabilities of the Warthog Thunderbolt II next year, but the plans are still in works, so no specific shows are known just yet.
Based out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., the A-10 West Heritage Flight Team, assigned to the 354th Fighter Squadron, is currently made up of two A-10C Thunderbolt IIs, three pilots, two crew chiefs, an avionics technician, engines technician, and an aircraft electrical and environmental specialist.
Captain Cody Wilton will fly the team’s 2018 demos, according to USAF Air Combat Command (ACC).
The current remaining 2017 A-10 Heritage schedule:
29 Sept-1 Oct – Salinas, California
7-8 Oct – San Francisco, California
14-15 Oct – Boise, Idaho
21-22 Oct – Houston, Texas
11-12 Nov – Nellis AFB, Nevada
“The A-10 belongs right there with the war birds, as it is legendary itself,” said Master Sgt. Mark Aube, A-10 demo team maintenance superintendent. “While talking with the air show guests, I found that everyone was eager to see the tank buster in action.”
The A-10 is quite popular with many people, for good reason. The whole aircraft is actually built around the 30mm Gatling-type cannon, which is capable of firing 70 rounds of a lightweight aluminum body projectile per second, cast around a smaller caliber depleted uranium penetrating core, making it absolutely lethal against tanks and all other armored vehicles.
Two A-10Cs assigned to the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, crashed recently on a training mission over the NTTR on Sep 6. Both pilots ejected safely.