DAYTON — The United States Air Force has announced it will be sending our Nation’s newest fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, to Dayton to perform a Heritage Flight at the 2017 Vectren Dayton Air Show Presented by Kroger on June 24-25 at the Dayton International Airport.
The F-35 first appeared at Dayton in 2016 as a ground display. Today’s announcement is the first time it has been authorized to fly during the show. The F-35 will be joined in flight by the P-51 Mustang “Baby Duck” to form a Heritage flight.
The Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II is a 5th generation aircraft that combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility. It represents the cutting-edge of aerial combat technology reshaping air power strategy. The F-35 will travel to Dayton from the 56th Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB, Arizona. It will be flown by Major Will “D-Rail” Andreotta.
The North American P-51 Mustang is a storied WWII fighter aircraft. Designed for bomber escort, P-51 Mustangs destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in the air – more than any other fighter in European theater. The P-51 “Baby Duck” assigned to the Heritage will be flown by veteran warbird pilot, Vlado Lenoch.
A remarkable display of U.S. air power history, the Heritage Flight was established by the Air Force in 1997 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Air Force. Specially trained active-duty Air Force pilots along with a select group of civilian pilots combine to fly in formation in front of thousands of onlookers each year. 2017 will be the first time the F-35 and P-51 will be seen together in the skies over Dayton.
“We are thrilled the Air Force has selected Dayton for an F-35 Heritage flight appearance” stated Michael Emoff, Chairman of the USATS Board of Trustees. “This is a big first, the F-35 is such an awesome aircraft and we’re so proud to introduce it to the Birthplace of Aviation community,” Emoff added.