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F-22 Raptors arrive at Kentucky Air Guard Base in preparation for Thunder Over Louisville

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor taxies into the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011, in preparation for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptors will be one of show?s marquee events when Thunder takes place over the Ohio River on April 16. Nearly 60 aircraft are expected to participate in Thunder. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor taxies into the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011, in preparation for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. Raptors will be one of show's marquee events when Thunder takes place over the Ohio River on April 16. Nearly 60 aircraft are expected to participate this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

A U.S. Army Blackhawk hovers nearby as a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor taxies to its parking spot on the flight line of the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011. The Raptor, piloted by Maj. Henry Schantz and assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va., will appear in the Thunder Over Louisville air show April 16. The annual event is one of the largest single-day air shows in the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

A U.S. Army Blackhawk hovers nearby as a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor taxies to its parking spot on the flight line of the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011. The Raptor, piloted by Maj. Henry Schantz and assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va., will appear in the Thunder Over Louisville air show April 16. The annual event is one of the largest single-day air shows in the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Two U.S. Air Force F-22s from the Raptor Demonstration Team practice an aerobatic maneuver as they fly over the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011. The F-22s, based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., will be one of the marquee attractions of this year?s Thunder Over Louisville air show, scheduled to take place over the Ohio River in downtown Louisville on April 16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Two U.S. Air Force F-22s from the Raptor Demonstration Team practice an aerobatic maneuver as they fly over the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011. The F-22s, based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., will be one of the marquee attractions of this year's Thunder Over Louisville air show, scheduled to take place over the Ohio River in downtown Louisville on April 16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors arrive at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011, in preparation for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptors will be one of show?s marquee events when Thunder takes place over the Ohio River on April 16. The annual event has become one of the nation?s largest air shows, with nearly 60 aircraft slated to perform this year for a crowd that?s expected to top 750,000. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors arrive at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011, in preparation for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptors will be one of show's marquee events when Thunder takes place over the Ohio River on April 16. The annual event has become one of the nation's largest air shows, with nearly 60 aircraft slated to perform this year for a crowd that's expected to top 750,000. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor arrives at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011, in preparation for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptor will be one of show???s marquee events when Thunder takes place over the Ohio River on April 16. The annual event has become one of the nation???s largest air shows, with nearly 60 aircraft slated to perform this year for a crowd that???s expected to top 750,000. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor arrives at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011, in preparation for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. The Raptor will be one of show's marquee events when Thunder takes place over the Ohio River on April 16. The annual event has become one of the nation's largest air shows, with nearly 60 aircraft slated to perform this year for a crowd that's expected to top 750,000. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor parks at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011, in preparation for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. Raptors will be one of show???s marquee events when Thunder takes place over the Ohio River on April 16. The annual event has become one of the nation???s largest air shows, with nearly 60 aircraft slated to perform this year for a crowd that???s expected to top 750,000. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor parks at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on April 14, 2011, in preparation for the Thunder Over Louisville air show. Raptors will be one of show's marquee events when Thunder takes place over the Ohio River on April 16. The annual event has become one of the nation's largest air shows, with nearly 60 aircraft slated to perform this year for a crowd that's expected to top 750,000. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A pair of U.S. Air Force F-22s, the nation's premier fighter jet, landed at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base this morning, marking the first of nearly 60 military and heritage aircraft scheduled to arrive in Louisville for this weekend's Thunder Over Louisville air show.

Known as the Raptor, the F-22 features a combination of stealth technology, speed, maneuverability and lethality that can't be matched by any known or projected aircraft, according to Maj. Henry Schantz, an F-22 pilot for the U.S. Air Force Raptor Demonstration Team.

"The F-22 is the world's only operational fifth-generation aircraft," said Major Shantz, who is assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va., and will be flying in Thunder Over Louisville this weekend. "We have the ability to perform both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, projecting air dominance to ensure that our troops remain safe on the ground."

He said the public can look forward to an exciting aerobatic demonstration on Saturday that showcases some of the Raptor's unique capabilities.

"Our demonstration this weekend will show the full capabilities of this aircraft," Major Shantz said. "We have the ability to fly at very slow speeds or at very high speeds, and we can also fly at angles of attack that most people normally don't get to see. For example, we'll demonstrate a 'flat turn,' where the jet pretty much pivots around itself."

Besides the F-22, Thunder 2011 is slated to feature a wide variety of other planes and helicopters from the U.S. Armed Services, Canadian Air Force and German Luftwaffe. Highlights include U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets, U.S. Air Force F-16 Falcons and German Panavia Tornadoes.

"This is the largest single-day air show in the country," said 1st Lt. Josh Ketterer, Thunder coordinator for the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Airlift Wing. "Most air shows are two-day events, and we put more airplanes in the air in a single day than 90 percent of the air shows do in two days."

The Kentucky Air Guard will once again serve as the operating base for military aircraft featured in Thunder, providing logistical, security and maintenance support.

"It's a true pleasure for us to support this event, which has become one of the most successful air shows in the nation," Lieutenant Ketterer said. "We know our efforts allow hundreds of thousands of people to see the nation's military aircraft up close, whether they're watching them in person along the riverfront or tuning in to the live telecast."