2017-06-14 23:26:20 UTC
Details on F-35A trip to Paris Air Show begin to emerge
By: Valerie Insinna, May 17, 2017 (Photo Credit: Senior Airman Christine
Groening/U.S. Air Force)
WASHINGTON — Two F-35As will go to the Paris Air Show this June, but
they won’t be flown by U.S. Air Force pilots, a service official said
One F-35A from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and another from Luke Air
Force Base, Arizona, are currently slated to conduct flying
demonstrations at Paris Air Show, said Col. David Lyons, commander of
the 388th Fighter Wing. Hill AFB’s 388th Fighter Wing is home to the
first operational F-35A squadron, while Luke AFB is a major joint strike
fighter training base.
Lyons added that the two jets will be flown by test pilots from F-35
prime contractor Lockheed Martin during their stint in Paris, but was
not able to comment on why airmen would not be piloting the aircraft.
Scratch that — the F-35A will go to Paris Air Show after all
Plans for the F-35’s first appearance in Paris are finally coming
together after a slow start. In April, officials from the F-35 joint
program executive office said the aircraft would sit out from the show,
held every other year at Le Bourget Airport in France. But on May 8, the
Air Force reversed course, announcing its intention to send aircraft to
The U.S. military has been hesitant to show its stealth aircraft in
Paris since the early '90s, when the Pentagon grew worried about alleged
espionage involving the F-117. Since then, the Air Force has conducted a
B-2 flyover in 1995, but otherwise has kept its stealth jets from
appearing at the show. A scheduled F-22 visit was canceled in 2009.
Paris Air Show organizers invited US F-35s to conduct flight demos
An Air Force spokesman said there were no specific concerns about the
aircraft flying in the show.
“We have processes, procedures and networks in place to ensure that we
can fly where we want to fly and when we want to fly, and we’re not
concerned about it,” he said.
The Air Force does not always rely on pilots from its operational
squadrons to conduct demos at air shows. For instance, its heritage
flight team flew F-35s at the Royal International Air Tattoo in England