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Air Force history and future in Tucson skies this weekend

Plane that inspired the A-10 among the aircraft
and last updated 2020-03-02 12:48:10-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - This weekend, you'll have a chance to see something in Tucson you won't see anywhere else---modern warplanes, and historic planes from World War Two and Korea flying together to practice for airshows.

If this year’s practice there's a special link between one of the old planes, and the A-10s that fly from Davis Monthan.

With an active Air Force Base in Tucson we're used to seeing modern warplanes in the sky but for the next few days the skies will also be filled, with history.

The Heritage Flight training at Davis Monthan prepares pilots for the tricky business of flying old and new planes just a few feet from each other. Old planes have to fly close to flat out. Newer planes have to back off the speed that keeps them stable.

Tucsonans see A-10s all the time but Heritage flight brings in the A-10s grandaddy---the P-47 Thunderbolt. The A-10 follows the Thunderbolt's model --forget sleek and slim ---go for big, tough, and ready for plenty of punishment.

Charlie Hainline flew A-10s before he retired from the Air Force. He flies the P-47 for Heritage Flight.

"It was known for being able to take a lot of damage, like A-10s. They'd come home, I've seen pictures, half a wing missing. One guy flew through trees. His prop was all screwed up, and made it home."

Everyone calls the A-10 the Warthog but it's official name is the Thunderbolt II, to honor the P-47. Major Cody Wilton leads the A-10 Demo Team. He loves it when Heritage Flight lets him share the air with the plane that inspired what he flies today.

“It's surreal. Looking out there and see it how challenging and what those

guys do and what they work with, and how they still got the mission done compared to the technology that's afforded us. Nowadays, but it's definitely a surreal experience."

Modern airmen and military retirees love this chance to see the new---and the old planes together but they're the only ones who can see the planes this close. Everyone else has to watch from outside the gates.

People often watch the practice from around the base. The Air Force says you do need to keep a good distance from the fence. Sorry, but there's no set flight schedule we can share but flights should continue through Saturday and Sunday morning.

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