F-22 Raptors arrive at Kentucky Air Guard Base in preparation for Thunder Over Louisville
By Maj. Dale Greer, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 14, 2011
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."