Colorado Springs will get a rare look at America’s most advanced fighter jet when an F-22 Raptor wings in for the Pikes Peak Regional Airshow in September.
The Virginia-based F-22 demonstration team will show off the stealthy jet, which brings mind-boggling technologies including thrust-vectoring along with massive jet engines to power the plane.
“It is definitely a crowd pleaser and one of the most sought-after performances based on the unique capabilities of the F-22,” said Maj. Paul Lopez, who will fly the fighter at the event, planned for Sept. 21 and 22.
“You have about 70,000 pounds of thrust coming out of the back of those motors.”
The airshow, in its third installment since 2014, will also feature a flock of World War II aircraft led by a vintage B-17G bomber, the plane that American airmen used to crush Nazi Germany.
John Henry, a spokesman for the event, said the mix of planes makes the show different from its peers in other towns.
“It will be a grand great showing of aircraft,” Henry said.
The event will benefit the National Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs along with military museums at Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base.
The show will be at the military air terminal south of the Colorado Springs Airport, allowing easy public access along with plenty of ramp room for planes.
Even though the show is set in landlocked Colorado, it will feature one of the rarest collections of Navy planes from the 1930s and 1940s. The aviation museum has one of the biggest collections of flying World War II Navy planes in America, from the F-3F biplane, which was still in use just before Pearl Harbor, to the F-7F Tigercat, a twin engine fighter rolled out just after hostilities ended.
The show will also feature an interactive exhibit on the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, the African-American pilots who broke through Jim Crow rules to fly and light in World War II. That display comes complete with a red-tailed P-51 Mustang, like the planes flown by the Tuskegee pilots.
But nothing will draw a crowd quite like a twisting, turning F-22.
Lopez said the Raptor’s performance will not only show off the plane’s supreme capabilities, it will also show off the ground crew that keeps the high-technology beast airborne.
“We look to showcase American air power, help retain America’s finest personnel and build community relationships,” Lopez said. The F-22 was first flown in 1997 and entered Air Force squadrons in 2005. The $150 million airplane remains America’s most expensive fighter and it remains unrivaled in its ability to sneak up on enemies and destroy them quickly.
While much of the technology in the F-22 is 25 years old, it remains on the cutting edge. And that comes with a degree of secrecy. While spectators will be able to get a close look at the Pikes Peak Regional Airshow’s other planes, the F-22 comes with a cordon of security.
“We always have security on the airplane,” Lopez said.
Advance tickets for the show are on sale. To learn more or get your ticket, visit pprairshow.org.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240 Twitter: @xroederx