Luke announces F-35 heritage flight program

Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan

The Air Force Heritage Flight program features modern U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korean and Vietnam era aircraft in a dynamic display of our nation’s airpower history.

“These flights will allow all Americans 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, 56th Fighter Wing commander. “I think it’s very important for everyone to have a chance to watch the F-35 fly and see firsthand what a great capability this fighter jet will give to the U.S. and our partner nations. We’ve flown thousands of sorties and hours in this jet already and are excited to be able to show it to the public.”

“The F-35 will be the backbone of the U.S. Air Force fighter fleet and represents the future for the U.S., our partners and allies. Being a part of these heritage flights provides a unique insight into the past and the future,” Pleus said.

The heritage flight team will attend the Heritage Flight Conference at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tuscon, Arizona, in preparation for taking part in heritage flight demonstrations during the 2016 air show season. It also enables flying dissimilar aircraft in close formation.

Maj. William Andreotta from Luke has been selected to be the first F-35A heritage flight pilot.

“It’s an honor to be able to bring the F-35 to the public,” he said. “I’m also excited to have an opportunity to honor our past, present and future as part of the heritage flight air show season.”

The F-35 will be featured at numerous air shows throughout the country, beginning with its debut performance at Luke Air Force Base’s 25th Anniversary Airshow “75 Years of Airpower” from April 2-3, 2016, in Glendale, Arizona.