Flying Solo

Air Combat Command will sponsor solely its F-22 demonstration team for the 2012 air show season from among its single-ship performers due to budgetary constraints. Its five other single-ship demo teams—A-10 East and West, F-16 East and West, and F-15E—will not perform next year, according to an ACC release. The command said it will distribute the flying hours normally allotted to those five teams to its combat wings. This “will allow us to reallocate more than 900 sorties to our wings so they can maximize their flying hours for combat readiness training, offsetting some of the reduction we’ve seen in flying hours,” states the Dec. 1 release. It continues, “Most importantly, reallocating those sorties will provide an increase in more than 25 combat-ready fighter pilots—that’s a very good thing for our nation and wise stewardship of our limited resources.” Of note, the Thunderbirds air demonstration team is “set to complete a full season next year,” according to ACC. (See also New York City Aviation report)