February 20, 2014 (by Capt. Tamara Fischer-Carter) - Eleven Airmen from the Misawa Air Base, Japan, F-16 Fighting Falcon Demonstration Team arrived in Singapore, February 5, in support of the 2014 Singapore International Airshow.
Capt. Ryan Worrell, 35th OSS and Pacific Air Forces F-16 demo team pilot, prepares for takeoff in F-16D block 50 #90-0838 during a recent practice flight at Misawa AB. Worrell showcased the F-16s capabilities during the 2014 Singapore Air Show on February 11th through 16th, 2014. [USAF photo by A1C. Zachary Kee]
The team may have ramped up operations prior to the show, but being the only single-ship F-16 demo team in the Air Force, with a performance region that extends from India to Alaska and everywhere in between, means the group is always on duty.
"We train to safely deploy and execute a single-ship F-16 demonstration," said Capt. Ryan Worrell, Pacific Air Forces F-16 Fighting Falcon Demonstration Team commander and pilot.
In order to be a part of the team, the aircrew has to go through a 10-sortie validation for the pilot and safety observer, and another certification with spin-up time for the maintenance crew.
To showcase that training, the team performs not only in the sky - where their standard performance time is nine minutes long - but also on the ground.
During the pre-flight show, each crew member executes precise facing movements while they perform their pre-flight checks to demonstrate the professionalism of the Air Force.
"It takes a great deal of practice, precision and accuracy and we're hard on each other to get it right," said Staff Sgt. Shane McGowen, one of three crew chiefs at the event from Misawa's 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
The team practices once every two weeks and performs an average of 14 shows a year. They have performed in Australia, Singapore
, the Republic of Korea, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and many locations in Japan.
Being able to show international audiences the power and maneuverability of the F-16 and traveling to different countries is a benefit the team members appreciate.
"It's a unique opportunity to build good relationships with [the people of Singapore] and other countries and be able to meet different people and put on a good show," said Staff Sgt. Ben Smard, 14th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, Misawa.
Staff Sgt. Blake Wendt, 35th AMXS avionics engine specialist, agrees.
"It gives us a chance to get out to different locations and experience different cultures all while showcasing aerial demos," Wendt said. "It's been fun; a lot of long hours and hard work but it pays off."