Lockheed F-35 Pilots to Fly in Paris

Two Air Force F-35As will make an appearance at the Paris Air Show this summer, but it won’t be USAF pilots behind the controls. One F-35A from Hill AFB, Utah, and one from Luke AFB, Ariz., will journey to Paris for the show in late June. However, the pilots flying the demonstration will be from Lockheed Martin, not the Air Force, said Col. David Lyons, commander of the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill during a conference call with reporters. “Due to the limited number of aircraft, pilots, and maintenance professionals, we have decided not to develop an F-35 demonstration profile for air shows this year,” said USAF spokesman Capt. Mark Graff. “While we look forward to demonstrating the uparalleled maneuverability of the F-35 to the world, we remain singularly focused on bringing the full combat capability of the F-35 to our nation.” Graff said Lockheed has been using simulators to build a flight demonstration and “will now practice the demonstration in advance of the Paris Air Show.” USAF expects to develop and perform its own F-35 demonstration beginning in 2018, he added. The Air Force’s F-35A will continue to participate in heritage flights, which are limited to straight-pass flyovers alongside other aircraft, and do not include aerobatics such as those performed by the Air Force Thunderbirds and F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team. Hill recently sent eight F-35As on deployment to RAF Lakenheath, England, where they began to lay the groundwork for that base eventually getting its own F-35 units.