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LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz., — While the F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team pilot and commander Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson has been hard at work refining the aerial maneuvers for their all-new demonstration, the maintainers  have also been practicing their newly developed ground performance.

Tech. Sgt. Michael Couture, F-35 Demo Team maintenance lead, has spent the last few months designing the new ground performance which will be featured at 16 air shows across the United States and Canada this season.

“During the previous years as the F-35 Heritage Flight Team, the ground performance was a little slower paced with a lot of marching and facing movements,” said Couture. “This year, our goal is to speed things up and bring the energy the audience sees in the air to the ground show.”

The new ground performance not only brings more excitement to fans but also prepares the jet for flight.

“During the ground performance, you can expect to see our ground crew hustling around the aircraft completing maintenance inspections and final checks to prepare for the flight,” said Couture. “Executing clean and crisp facing movements during these checks showcases the pride and professionalism of our team as well as the U.S. Air Force.”

The team will dedicate an entire week in February to perfecting the new ground procedures in preparation for final certification during the Heritage Flight and Certification Course at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

Couture spoke enthusiastically about his team and the upcoming air show season.

Everyone on the team is an excellent maintainers and are truly the best of the best,” said Couture. “I can’t wait to get the season started.”

As a second-year member on the team, he has grown to love certain aspects.

“My favorite part about being on the team is traveling to all of the awesome places and having the opportunity to interact with all of the fans,” Couture said. “I love seeing how excited they get when they see the F-35 fly for the first time.” 

For more information on the F-35 Demo Team, follow them on social media or their website at https://www.luke.af.mil/F-35-Demo-Team/



LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.,— The F-35 Heritage Flight Team is officially transitioning to the F-35 Demonstration Team for the 2019 air show season taking their current flying profile to new heights.

“The past year’s demonstration was sort of like an ‘appetizer’ if you will,” said Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson, F-35 Demonstration Team pilot and commander. The new profile this year will be the full ‘five-course meal’ showing fans everything this jet is capable of.” 

According to Olson, the new 13 minute-long profile will highlight the F-35A Lightning II’s numerous capabilities to include speed, agility, and high-g turning.

“What makes the fifth generation fighter so special in general is the slow-speed, high angle of attack maneuvering it can do,” Olson said. “We’re also going to be performing controlled flat spins while falling out of the sky as well as high-speed passes and vertical climbs.”

Along with the new single-jet profile, the team plans to include the Heritage Flight display following the F-35A’s performance flying alongside older warbirds representing the past, present, and future of Air Force Airpower.

“For the 2019 air show season, we’re going to be a demonstration team,” Olson said. “The show we’re going to bring to fans is unlike anything they’ve ever seen and I really believe it’s going to set a bench mark for the demonstrations performed by any airplane on the planet. I think it’s really going to impress people by finally showing off the full maneuvering envelope of the F-35A.”

Throughout the off season, Olson is preparing for the new profile in Fort Worth, Texas where he’ll engage in simulated training. 

“The training involved during the off season is very intense,” Olson said. “It takes a lot of practice to fly the F-35A crisply and professionally to fully showcase its power and agility. We wrote the new demonstration from scratch hand selecting all of the new maneuvers so their executable and repeatable to ensure safety.”

With the amount of operational support from the 56th Fighter Wing, Olson is confident now is the right time to transition to the demonstration team.

“We have the right amount of jets right now at Luke AFB to fully support what we need to do on the road with the demonstration team as well as continue to fulfill our primary mission at home of training the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat ready Airmen.”

The quantity of fully combat capable (3F) F-35A’s within the fleet at Luke AFB will also enable the F-35 Demonstration Team to effectively demonstrate its capabilities while on the road. 

“We have a wide variety of professionals within their respective career fields on the team this year who are at their absolute pinnacles in their career and it’s such an honor and joy to work with them on a daily basis.”

With 12 Airmen selected to be on the team for the upcoming season, Olson is looking forward to what’s in store for the future.

“I’m really proud of what our team accomplished last year, but I’m also very excited about the upcoming season to finally get to show air show crowds around the world the full potential of the F-35A Lightning II.”

During the off season, Olson is scheduled to fly a minimum of 16 training sorties before receiving his certification at the Heritage Flight Certification and Training Course from Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander of Air Education and Training Command.

For more information and updates on the F-35 Demonstration Team, go to https://www.luke.af.mil/F-35-Demonstration-Team/ or follow them on Facebook @F35DEMO and Instagram @F35DemoTeam

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