DM hosts Heritage Flight Training Course 2024

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nathan Call
  • 355 Wing Public Affairs

The Heritage Flight Training Course took place at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., February 29 - March 3, 2024.

Air Force demonstration pilots went through various routines, solo and with civilian Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation pilots, and became certified to perform in the 2024 air show season. 

The new F-16 Viper Team Demonstration Team pilot, U.S. Air Force Capt. Taylor “SAM” Heister, and F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team pilot, U.S. Air Force Capt. Melanie “MACH” Kluesner, received their certifications to perform at airshows this season.

The performances featured modern fighter and attack aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korea and Vietnam-era planes. 

This year’s Air Force Air Combat Command’s four demonstration teams, to include: the F-35 Lightning II, F-22 Raptor, F-16 Viper and A-10 Thunderbolt II. The Heritage flights included the following aircraft: the P-51 Mustang, F-86 Sabre, P-38 Lightning, and the F-5 Tiger. 

U.S. Air Force Col Amy Meier, 355th Wing acting deputy commander, was able to take an incentive flight on a P-51 Mustang with founding member of the Air Force Heritage Flight program and pilot, Jim Beasley. 

“My grandpa was a side gunner on a B-24 (liberator) and so World War II history has always been a part of my life,” said Meier. “I felt closer to my grandpa because it was one of those moments where you really connect with your family history.”

Heritage flights raise awareness of the Air Force mission and serve as a living memorial to the men and women who have served, or are currently serving in the Air Force.

“We’re learning so much about what our capabilities are and what we’re going to do in the future,” Meier said. “That comes with always keeping an eye on where we started.”


An A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft soars during the Heritage Flight Training Course at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., March 2, 2024. HFTC was a five day event that trained Air Combat Command’s four aerial demonstration teams. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Abbey Rieves)