HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – The F-22 demo team was created after the retirement of the F-15C Eagle from Langley AFB in the mid 2000s.
Comprised of one pilot, maintenance personnel and several support staff, the team travels the world showcasing the capabilities of the F-22 at up to 27 airshows a year.
The pilot, Captain Sam “Razz” Larson, attended airshows from a young age.
“I was really interested in all facets of aviation growing up, and then I actually got to see the F-22 demo growing up and I knew right then and there that was something I wanted to pursue,” Larson said.
During the demonstration, Larson will put the F-22, and his own body to the test, as he experiences extreme G forces.
“When we’re standing here, we’re feeling one G. During the demo, we’ll get up to 9.5 to 10 times the G force – so that’s a lot of force pushing on your body.”
As the USAF’s premiere 5th generation fighter, the F-22 is capable of manuevers that seem to defy the laws of motion.
Larson told WAVY that the F-22 is “the only aircraft in the U.S. military inventory with thrust vectoring. So, you’ll get to see maneuvers that no other aircraft can perform, to include a controlled flat spin, backflips and tailslides where we’ll actually slide the aircraft in reverse up to 80 mph.”
Towards the end of the demonstration, the F-22 will team for the USAF Heritage Flight – which brings together former military aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang, with modern day fighters.
If you attend the airshow, make sure you look for the team’s display, and ask a few questions. It may just set you on a path into the air.
Air Power Over Hampton Roads will be at Langley AFB this weekend. On Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7 watch the airshow with USAF Thunderbirds, Langley’s own F-22 Raptor Demo Team, the F-35 Demo, parachute teams and a variety of civilian performers. To park at the event you must request a pass in advance. Parking will be around Hampton and transportation to the base will be provided. Find ticket and parking information here.