Nostalgic and modern aircraft join forces for Heritage Flight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Washburn
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Aircraft from past and present converged on D-M's flightline for the annual Air Combat Command Heritage Flight Training Conference Feb. 29 through March 4.

"The Heritage Flight Training Course allows civilian and military pilots to train together for the upcoming air show season," said Michelle Clougher, Air Combat Command Public Affairs. "These performances feature modern fighter and attack aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korea and Vietnam-era aircraft in a dramatic display of our nation's air power history."

Some of the aircraft featured at this year's Heritage Flight were the P-51 Mustang, F-86 Sabre, F-4 Phantom, A-10 Thunderbolt, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor.

The Heritage Flight was closed to the public, but those with military identification and their family members were able to come out between the hours of 8-9 a.m. to get an up-close and personal look at the historic planes. After which, they were allowed to stay and watch in the bleachers as the planes flew together in formation.

Each year, the Heritage Flight Conference is held at D-M because of its ideal conditions.

"The airspace and weather make D-M more conducive to the training," Clougher said. "The base also goes out of their way every year to accommodate and host this event and it would not be possible without their support."

What once started out as a onetime event to celebrate the Air Force has now turned into a yearly occasion.

"In 1997, the leaders of Air Combat Command assembled a select group of retired military and civilian performers to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the United States Air Force," Clougher said. "From this gathering was born the Heritage Flight, a unique visual representation of the Air Force's history from the days of the Army Air Corps to the present. Heritage flights are now performed at air shows and special events in the United States and around the world."