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History in the sky: Heritage Flight training continues

History in the sky: Heritage Flight training continues
Posted at 5:11 PM, Mar 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-07 00:30:36-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A sight like no other coming out of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Modern warplanes and historic planes flying together to practice for airshows, as pilots train throughout the weekend. So, you just might see an F-35 Fighter Jet if you keep your eyes on the sky.

The Heritage Flight Training Course prepares pilots for the tricky business of flying old and new planes just a few feet away from each other.

Captain Haden Fullam just went through his certification process. He says it was roughly a five month process.

“It’s been an unbelievable experience getting to fly the A-10,” he told KGUN9.

Captain Fullam added, traditionally, the A-10 has a gray paint scheme, but they did something new for this year’s training.

“And the intent behind it was to commemorate the Vietnam veterans, especially from the 355th fighter wing,” he said.

Retired Air-Force Pilot MaRico Tippett was among the few who got to experience the fighter jets take flight.

“I flew the EC1-30. I did 21 years, active duty,” he said.

Tippett says it’s a treat coming to see the planes fly.

“So I think it’s really cool to see the F-22 and F-25 which is our fifth generation fighters, and our old F-86 and P-51 mustangs flying together in formation. I think it's something that's really hard to do, but when you see it it's just a really beautiful thing...of bringing the old with the new and that’s what it's really all about,” he told KGUN9.

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Mcalear says this is the Heritage Flight’s 24th year, 21 of which have happened in Tucson.

“What I love about the heritage flight is it really links that greatest generation that is passing away to everybody who is still with us. You go to airshows and you see the veterans who are with their grandchildren or children and out there looking at what you’re seeing out here today and oftentimes brings a tear to their eye,” the Lieutenant Colonel told KGUN9.

“It shows how far we’ve come. It shows the capability that our Air Force has. It shows our younger airmen that are coming up, the sacrifices that were necessary to get to where we are today,” added Tippett.

At the end of the day, Fullam says this training course gets the pilots, veterans and the community connected in a beautiful way.

“It’s such a privilege to be able to represent the Airforce, be able to represent ACC, and to be able to represent the A-10 community. Come out and show our single-ship combat capabilities demonstration at airshows all over the country,” he told KGUN9.

The last day for the Heritage Flight training will be Sunday, March 7.

The next airshow is scheduled for November 2021 at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.