Mustang joins latest-generation fighters at Flying Legends and RIAT
The first appearances in the UK for several years by a US Air Force Heritage Flight starred at July’s two big UK airshows, the Flying Legends Air Show at IWM Duxford and the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.
On both days at Flying Legends, Robert Tyrrell’s P-51D Mustang ‘Miss Helen’, in the hands of visiting American warbird pilot Dan Friedkin, joined up with a modern-day USAF F-22A Raptor, flown by Maj Dan ‘Rock’ Dickinson from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Virginia. This was the Raptor’s debut at a British display other than RIAT and Farnborough, and the first time the state-of-the-art air superiority fighter had flown in a Heritage Flight performance in Europe. ‘Rock’ also performed a number of solo passes, showing a little of the F-22’s incredible thrust-vectoring agility.
Poor weather prevented the P-51 from making RIAT until the final Sunday of the three-day show. Unfortunately, the F-22 suffered a technical fault during its preceding solo slot and had to land, leaving Friedkin to fly the Mustang alongside only an F-35A Lightning II of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Arizona. Piloted by Maj Will ‘D-Rail’ Andreotta, the new Lockheed Martin fighter was part of the Air Tattoo’s six-strong F-35 contingent, making the type’s inaugural showing in Britain. The F-35A has been added to the Heritage Flight programme in 2016. ‘Rock’ later switched to the spare F-22 to fulfil his Duxford commitment.
Full reports on both Flying Legends and RIAT will be featured in the September issue of ‘Aeroplane’.