USAF celebrates first flight of F-22 Raptor fifth-generation fighter


By Dario Leone
Nov 6 2017
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The F-22 Raptor took off for the first time from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, on Sep. 7, 1997, with F-22 chief test pilot Paul Metz at the controls

On Oct. 19, 2017, the F-22 Combined Test Force (CTF) held a ceremony at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) to commemorate the first flight of the F-22 Raptor which took place on Sep. 7, 1997. The fighter took off from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, with F-22 chief test pilot Paul Metz at the controls.

As told by Kenji Thuloweit, 412th Test Wing Public Affairs, in the article F-22 CTF celebrates 20th birthday of Raptor first flight, the F-22 CTF continues to test systems upgrades and modernization projects on the fifth-generation fighter.

USAF celebrates first flight of F-22 Raptor fifth-generation fighter
Members of the F-22 Combined Test Force and special guests pose for a photo in front of one the CTF’s F-22 Raptors. The CTF held a ceremony Oct. 19 to commemorate the first flight of the F-22.

In fact as we have previously explained 411th Flight Test Squadron’s F-22 Modernization Team at Edwards continues to work to keep the Raptor the best fighter in the world.

A claim confirmed by Lt. Col. Lee Bryant, commander of the 411th Flight Test Squadron, who said earlier this year: “What we’re doing, you could almost call it Raptor 2.0, is essentially a rebirth of the Raptor and what it can do. We’re making sure the Raptor, with its first look, first shot, first kill capability, continues to be the most capable fifth-generation fighter in the world.”

According to the Air Force, the F-22 Raptor’s combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities.

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

The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing full realization of operational concepts vital to the 21st century Air Force.

USAF celebrates first flight of F-22 Raptor fifth-generation fighter

The F-22 engines produce more thrust than any current fighter engine. The combination of sleek aerodynamic design and increased thrust allows the F-22 to cruise at supersonic airspeeds (greater than 1.5 Mach) without using afterburner — a characteristic known as supercruise. Supercruise greatly expands the F-22 ‘s operating envelope in both speed and range over current fighters that have to burn a lot of fuel using an afterburner.

Photo credit: Teddy Techer and Jennifer Correa / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of

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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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