USAF Heritage Flight

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USAF Heritage Flight is short for the United States Air Force Heritage Flight. It was created in 1997 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the United States Air Force. It incorporates fighters from World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and other conflicts in which the USAF has been involved.

The USAF Heritage Flight formation will normally consist of two or more aircraft representing the different eras of operations, making three passes past the spectators. There will be one pass each from the right and left and then a final pass from behind the crowd with the aircraft performing a separation maneuver to create separation between the aircraft followed a few seconds later by a single simultaneous aileron roll by all the aircraft in the flight.

USAF Heritage Flight performed at the Wings Over Houston air show. Aircraft in the formation from top to bottom are P-51D Mustang, P-47D Thunderbolt, F-4G Phantom II, and F-22A Raptor

During the flypasts there is a musical accompaniment played through the public address system. The music that is normally played is "We Remember" by Dwayne O'Brian.

After the roll maneuver each of the aircraft will then enter the airfield traffic pattern, typically performing an individual pass before the crowd and then "pitching out" into an approach pattern and landing.

The specifics of the performance such as the roll and individual pass and landing may be modified by the weather and whether or not the local runway can safely handle the aircraft (adequate runway length) and if the airport has proper ground support equipment available..

Heritage Flight Aircraft[edit]

As of 2016, Air Combat Command lists these aircraft for Heritage Flights

Military
Civilian/Warbird

Up until 2013 other USAF aircraft represented by the Single Ship Tactical Demonstration teams were featured in Heritage Flights, these included the F-4 Phantom, F-15C Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle, and A-10 Thunderbolt II. Operational F-4 Phantoms discontinued participation in Heritage Flights after the type's retirement from the United States Air Force in the late 1990s, however the QF-4E Target Drone variant of the F-4 did participate in Heritage Flights (as well as solo demonstrations) up until 2012 when the aircraft were no longer available. The F-15C Eagle remained a popular heritage flight aircraft until 2007 when the F-15 East Coast Demonstration Team was disbanded due to cost issues and the advent of the newly formed F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team. All other USAF Single Ship Demonstration Teams were grounded in 2013 due to Sequestration in Congress which resulted in extensive budget cuts in the Military, The US Military confirmed its to Air Show and Heritage Flight Participation in January 2014 with the F-22 Raptor apparently being the only Air Combat Command aircraft confirmed for air show appearances which include tactical demonstrations and heritage flights, however in March 2014 Air Combat Command confirmed that the F-16 will also be featured in 2014 air shows being restricted to abbreviated 3-pass demonstrations as well as Heritage Flights. It is unclear whether the F-15E or A-10 will also return to Heritage Flights and with the A-10s recently announced retirement due to begin in 2015 it is unlikely that it will be featured at airshows again, while there has been no news that the still active F-15E will participate.

In 2015 the F-16 will do heritage flights as well as full demos. As of 2016, the F-35 will do heritage flights as well, but no full demos.

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