‘The F-22 Raptor is the only jet that manufacturers teams watch fly at air shows,’ Lockheed Martin Flightline Quality Assurance Manager says

‘The F-22 Raptor is the only jet that manufacturers teams watch fly at air shows,’ Lockheed Martin Flightline Quality Assurance Manager says

By Dario Leone
Oct 29 2023
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The F-22 Raptor at air shows

The F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team performs precision aerial maneuvers at air shows across the world to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the world’s premier 5th generation fighter aircraft.

The F-22 Raptor is the US Air Force’s premier 5th generation fighter aircraft. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, extreme maneuverability, and integrated avionics represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities.

The sophisticated F-22 aero design, advanced flight controls, thrust vectoring, and high thrust-toweight ratio provide the capability to outmaneuver all other current and projected aircraft.

F-22A Print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-22A Raptor 192nd Fighter Wing, 149th Fighter Squadron, FF/04-4082 – Langley AFB, VA – 2014

Farnborough Air Show 2010

Earl Belz, former Flightline Quality Assurance Manager at Lockheed Martin, tells an interesting story to The Aviation Geek Club.

‘I have had the unbelievable privilege of working with Lockheed Martin at three International Air Shows with the F-16 program.

‘I was at Farnborough in 98, 02 and again in 2010.

Never watch the other manufacturers teams fly their demonstration at air shows

‘At the 2010 edition we were on the ramp preparing our jet for a demonstration. Parked next to us was Boeing with a brand-new F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter had a Typhoon and Dassault had a Rafale, all parked on the ramp next to us.

‘It is, of course, a matter of professional pride that you never watch the other manufacturers teams fly their demonstration. After all, you’ve seen all of that and your jet can do all of that and even better. It’s pride, pure and simple.

F-22 Raptor model
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F-22 Raptor brief demonstration at Farnborough

‘As it happened, there was the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford and the announcers at Farnborough announced that an F-22 that was at Fairford was going to make a guest appearance at Farnborough and perform a brief demonstration.

‘That was the first and only time I’ve ever seen everyone on the flightline stop what they were doing to watch a jet.

‘What an amazing piece of technology.

‘Blows my mind to watch the F-22.’

The following video features the F-22 Raptor Demo Team performing at Farnborough Air Show 2010

Jets leased from the commands close to the air shows

Belz adds other details during his days with Lockheed Martin’s F-16 program;

‘Lockheed leases jets from the commands close to the air shows. We literally take aircraft with hundreds of hours on them and perform those shows.

‘Our team normally leases two aircraft, one for static display and the other for the flights in the airshow. We, of course do a thorough inspection of the jets when we get them. We inspect and set the flight controls, inspect the engine, airframe… and get a couple of days to dial the jets in to the pilot’s satisfaction and Technical Orders.

“We know who we work for”

‘What I always love is that the F-16s we lease are literally war birds and not new jets. The crew chiefs are flown over when their jets are delivered. Most of them have never seen the jets they crew perform like the Lockheed Martin pilots fly them. They are blown away and proud too! That’s the best part.’

Belz concludes;

‘We have a motto at Lockheed and it’s “We know who we work for” and that is so true. We are proud of what we build for our military men and women.’

‘The F-22 Raptor is the only jet that manufacturers teams watch fly at air shows,’ Lockheed Martin Flightline Quality Assurance Manager says
‘Here is our team in 2010. I am the guy in the middle just below the F-16 gun port. ‘We leased this jet from Aviano AB, it is a Triple Nickle Viper. The guys in the tan flight suits are the show pilots. The rest of us are specialists,’ Earl Belz, former Flightline Quality Assurance Manager at Lockheed Martin.

Photo credit: SSgt Samuel Rogers / U.S. Air Force and Earl Belz


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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