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Historic, and modern planes to share skies this weekend

Rehearsing for airshows
Posted at 7:32 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 21:32:21-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — You could have a “What’s that?” moment if you look up at the skies over Tucson through the weekend. World War 2 era aircraft are in the air over Davis-Monthan, training with modern planes for airshows.

Friday morning you might have seen a World War 2 P-51 Mustang—one of the planes that helped defeat Nazi Germany, wing to wing with an A-10 Warthog built to beat the Soviets in the Cold War and still on active duty today.

They are flying through the Heritage Flight Conference, preparing for air show flights to display Air Force history flying along with its present and future.

Before he retired from the military Greg Anders flew a variety of planes including the A-10. Now he’s flying a P-51 and loves looking out of the canopy to see a modern plane on his wing.

“It gives me a chill every time. I mean there's not a flight that goes by and I don't have that moment of goodness gracious. I'm one of the luckiest people to be able to do this and be able to tell that story for the Air Force about the past and the present.”

But it’s a tricky business to fly old and new planes close together. The A-10’s designed to fly comfortably at about the speed of the prop planes. But much faster aircraft like the F-35 or the F-16 are most stable at higher speed so it takes practice to hold them back and stay in formation with the World War 2 planes.

While the base is closed to the general public, veterans with base passes have been able to watch the planes. 90-year-old Alva Sporer says he served during the Korean War.

“And then after I got out of the service I got my flight instructor rating and taught in Omaha flight school but I sure enjoy it out here, seeing these old airplanes, P-51s, F-51s and there’s an F-86 out there. It’s just a great day if it wasn’t so windy.”

After flying in front of a small audience, pilots will use the skills they’ve sharpened at Heritage Conference to show these aircraft to hundreds of thousands of people at air shows throughout the country.


The planes will fly throughout the weekend. Sorry, there’s no formal flight schedule we can share.

Civilians can not get on base to watch but you should be able to get a good view from areas around the base. D-M says stay well back from the fence or security police will ask you to move farther away.