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F-22 Demo
U.S. Air Force Maj. Henry Schantz, 1st Fighter Wing F-22 demonstration pilot, from Langley Air Force Base, Va., took to the wide open blue skies of Tyndall AFB, Fla., in a practice F-22 Raptor demonstration run Feb. 8. (U.S Air Force photo by Lisa Norman/Released)
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F-22 Demo practices at Tyndall

Posted 2/14/2013   Updated 2/14/2013 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Rachelle Elsea
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/14/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- Tyndall Air Force Base hosted the F-22 Demonstration Pilot, as he took to the wide open blue skies in a practice F-22 Raptor demonstration run Feb. 8.

"I came to Tyndall for two reasons," said Maj. Henry Schantz, 1st Fighter Wing, Langley AFB, Va. "I wanted to spin back up for the new season, and I needed to get some practice sorties in. The 325th Fighter Wing was nice enough to let me come down and fly one of their aircraft. At the same time, it is always great because Tyndall support shows, and the Airmen get to see what all their hard work goes towards."

The demo runs are needed to regain currency for the year.

Schantz began his military flying career in 2000, flying the F-22 Raptor in 2005 and became an F-22 demo pilot in 2010.

"This is my fourth time at Tyndall," Schantz said. "It is great to be back to what feels like home. It is one of the only places that I have lived beside Virginia, and I like having the opportunity to reacquaint with old friends will being able to show off the aircraft and what I do."

When I was here as the wing executive officer, I was put in and interviewed for the job," Schantz said. "I am now starting my third year as the F-22 demonstration pilot. I love what I do. It is one of those jobs where you can't help but have a smile on your face."

Schantz flies on average 20 to 25 shows a year.

"I love the F-22," Schantz said. "Pilots have said, after transitioning from older aircraft, it is like going from a jalopy to a corvette. The best thing about the aircraft is that it's the newest fighter that is operational, it's the only 5th generation operational and it has capabilities that no other aircraft in the world has."

The major usually travels from show to show with a large team.

"The F-22 demo team incorporates about 17 people, including safety officers, other pilots who fly the jet to and from venues, and avionics, specialists and crew chiefs," Schantz said. "I have a full-time superintendent and team chief who also help me plan and coordinate the shows."

Due to Tyndall's F-22 mission, he was able to work Airmen already stationed here.

"For a place like Tyndall, I am able to use the local maintenance teams to help me fly," Schantz said.

For the Airmen of the 43rd Fighter Squadron this is a thrilling and exciting opportunity.

"It is also a morale booster for the Airmen on the flightline," said Staff Sgt. Bobby Collins, 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief.

Schantz was also anxious to give the Airmen a demonstration.

Sergeant Collins and other Airmen in the maintenance profession know how vital their role is and appreciate the major's sentiment.

"I like knowing that whatever I do, maintenance wise, is important to bringing the pilot home safe," said Staff Sgt. Bobby Collins, 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief. "For today, we provided an aircraft, launching out, recovering and making sure the aircraft we provided was ready for a demo launch and was able to do the maneuvers."

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