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F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team to begin local flying practice

The underbelly of an F-35A Lightning II during flight.

An F-35A Lightning II from the 388th Fighter Wing banks after takeoff at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Dec. 20, 2019. The 388th Fighter Wing is the Air Force’s first combat-coded F-35A wing and received their final F-35A Lightning II on Dec. 17, 2019, bringing the total number of aircraft at Hill to 78. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Kip Sumner)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Beginning on Monday, January 6th, the 388th Fighter Wing’s new F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team will begin local flying practice to prepare for the 2020 airshow season.

Local community members may see an F-35 conducting precision aerial maneuvers over Hill AFB’s air field. Demonstration practice will be scheduled one to two times daily from January 6th through the 10th. The routine will last approximately 15-30 minutes. During this time, the team will be also be perfecting new launch and recovery procedures for the show routine. Regular, but less frequent, demonstration practices will occur on a weekly basis to ensure the team is prepared throughout the upcoming airshow season.

“The team needs to practice over our runway to be able to ensure proper orientation and flight safety while performing these precise maneuvers,” Col. Joshua Wood, 388th Operations Group Commander, said. “Since a majority of airshows are centered on a runway at an airfield, our practice provides realistic training to ensure audience and pilot safety.”

The new pilot and team will be announced pending certification by Air Force leadership.

The team is scheduled to display the capabilities of the F-35A Lightning II at approximately 20 performances starting March 2020 and running through November.

Previously located at Luke AFB, Ariz., under Air Education and Training Command, the F-35 demo team will now operate out of Hill AFB, Utah, under Air Combat Command.

“As the first Airmen to fly the F-35A operationally every day, we know what it can do,” Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander, said. “We’re excited to show off its power, speed and maneuverability to audiences around the world.”

The F-35, America’s newest fifth-generation fighter, provides game-changing stealth, interoperability and lethality. It can penetrate dangerous airspace and defeat evolving threats both in the air and on the ground.

The demonstration team provides opportunities for people around the world to see the F-35A’s capabilities and the skill of America’s Airmen.

The official 2020 schedule and F-35A Demo Team information will be located on their website here.

F-35 Demo Team B-roll and Photos available here.

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As members of the first operational combat F-35A wing, the 388th Fighter Wing, the F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team at Hill AFB, UT, seeks to highlight the unique aerial capabilities of the Air Force’s newest 5th generation multi-role stealth fighter. The team also showcases the past and present of our service by flying with World War II, Korean, and Vietnam War-era aircraft during formation Heritage Flights.

The primary mission of the 388th Fighter Wing is to rapidly employ combat power with the F-35A Lightning II aircraft worldwide in support of the national defense. There are approximately 1,800 airmen and civilian professionals assigned to the 388th FW.  The 388th and 419th are the Air Force first combat-capable F-35A units. The first operational F-35As arrived at Hill in September 2015. The active duty 388th FW and Air Force Reserve 419th FW fly and maintain the jet in a Total Force partnership, which capitalizes on the strength of both components. By the end of 2019, Hill AFB will be home to 78 F-35s.