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Old November 30th, 2011, 07:31 PM
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John B John B is offline
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Default Heritage flights

Stupid question and I'm not sure which forum in which is belongs (O'Club? Jet Modelling? General Discussion?), but here goes...
How are the aircraft in the USAF/USN Heritage Flights/Formations determined? Are the compositions different for each airshow site?

I thought about it and quick Google search of images doesn't show it, but I thought an ideal USAF Heritage Flight composed of a P-51, F-86, QF-4, F-15, and F-22 would be an neat formation (representing WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the latest & greatest). I thought the most-likely venue where this might be seen would be Oshkosk or Aviation Nation events. It seems odd that even without the F-22, any images of such a formation with a representative aircraft from those 4 eras are very rare.
(I found this image from Aviation Nation, but no F-16 or F-15. Could they not find any at Nellis? Heritage Image with P-51, F-86, QF-4 and F-22
Here's another Heritage flight at Aviation Nation on a different year. P-38, F-86, QF-4, and A-10 )

There can't be many F9F warbirds flying, Thunderbird Aviation owns/used-to-own the only civilian F-8s I'm aware of, and no former-Navy/Marine F-4s are flying. There is/was only 1 flyable FJ Fury in civilian hands. There are at least 2 A-4 Skyhawks flying on the airshow circuit. I thought it might've been possible at the CoNA event at North Island in February when there were many warbirds around, but it didn't happen. There were S-3s, TBMs, SBDs, Skyraiders, Skyhawks and F4Us all present for the air parade and static display, but I've yet to see any such Navy formation flight composed of aircraft from those 4 eras emerge. I thought there might be a chance of such a formation at Pensacola and Jacksonville airshows, but I've never seen images of it.
(I found this image shot at Oshkosh this year Rhino, Buckeye, Corsair & Skyhawk. I'm guessing the Buckeye represents Korea-era?)

Is there any logic behind it all or is just a matter of the whimsy/schedules of warbird owners, squadron COs, and airshow organizers?
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 07:41 PM
Steve K. Steve K. is offline
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I'm guessing that the airshows are just working with whatever they can get. The CONA flight at Oshkosh was pretty nice, at least when I was there. The Hornet/Buckeye/Skyhawk/Corsair looked good:

That was on Friday. They also did a good flight on Thursday, although the weather wasn't as photo-friendly. They ran a four-ship flight and a 2-ship flight, though. The four-ship was the F-18F/FJ-4B Fury/Skyhawk/Buckeye, while the two-ship was a Corsair along with the F-18E that had the retro Navy paint scheme... IMO it was better looking than the digital camo paint on the F-18F.

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Old March 2nd, 2012, 03:46 AM
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Skull Leader Skull Leader is offline
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I don't know exactly how the navy does it, but the USAF holds a class you have to go through before you can be qualified to fly in a heritage flight as a civilian performer. Once someone is qualled, I believe they have the option to perform at whatever show they happen to be at (up to four aircraft I *think*, I've never seen one with more). I'm sure some of them try to align their performances where they know USAF heritage flight elements are going to be (heritage F-4s, east/west demo teams, etc)

The navy seems to put a great deal less thought into it... at least, that is how it looks. It's been a long time since I've seen a Navy heritage flight that consisted of more than a Corsair and a Hornet flying in formation for a couple of passes. I guess since there are fewer historical Naval aircraft on the public circut, it isn't that big of a deal to them. (the navy isn't flying anything older than Hornets any more... civvie skyhawks are rare, and anything else is even rarer except for F4U corsairs.
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