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Look up and see history this weekend

Historic & modern planes fly for air show practice
Posted at 6:17 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 20:17:40-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - You'll be able to see some aviation history---and the newest modern warplanes in the air over Tucson this weekend. Historic planes, and current ones are practicing to fly together at airshows.

Many regard the P-51 Mustang as the best fighter of World War Two. Here it is flying with the F-22 the most formidable fighter of modern times---about sixty years newer and more than a thousand miles per hour faster.

Pilots are at Davis-Monthan this weekend for the Heritage Flight Conference to practice flying planes from the Air Force's history with planes from its present and future.

To fly together the old planes may have to fly close to flat out while the new planes designed to fly far faster risk getting wobbly at slower speeds.

The newest fighter, the F-35, is here too---demonstrating what it can bring to the modern battlefield.

There's a hometown favorite in the practice this year. The A-10, based at Davis-Monthan is showing off why ground troops love it: It's ability to fly, low, slow and close.

A-10 Demo Pilot Captain Cody Wilton showed an A-10 that returned from Iraq in 2017. Its nose is covered with silhouettes of bombs, missiles and bullets.

"This is just a representation of what this aircraft did downrange and the weapons it dropped in that one single deployment. You see it got an Isis tank. It dropped a lot of bombs, shot the gun a whole lot. Shot some Maverick missiles as well and they really did a lot of work."

People call the A-10 the Warthog because it's not exactly pretty but it's official name is the Thunderbolt II. Through the Heritage Conference the Thunderbolt II and fly with the original Thunderbolt, the World War II P-47, also big, blunt, tough---and tough on ground targets.

Kevin Eldridge is piloting the P-47. He says, “It was a real bulletproof airplane as far as protection for the pilot, and it could take a lot of abuse.”

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: “So sort of as they talk about the A-10, tough plane, big gun, same thing?”

Eldridge: “That's right. Same thing, just a few years earlier.”

Some of the other old planes in the air include the P-40, made famous by the Flying Tigers and the P-38 Lightning so fast and powerful for it's day enemies called it the fork-tailed devil.

Heritage Conference planes typically fly through mid-day Sunday. You can’t get on Davis-Monthan to see them unless you have base access privileges but you can see them from locations around the base. Air Force officials say please do not come close to the perimeter fence.