February 9, 2010 (by Harry J. Lundy) - Aerial demonstration pilots received certification February 4, from Gen. William Fraser III, commander of Air Combat Command, and their performances are now ready for the 2010 air show season.
Viper East F-16 demo team patch [Robin Polderman collection]
The F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16 Viper East teams put a lot of preparation into the performance in an effort to provide the best possible routine throughout the year.
Getting certified requires approval at the wing and numbered air force levels before the final endorsement is given at ACC
"It's a humbling feeling," said Capt. Ryan Corrigan, F-16 Viper East Demo Team pilot from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. "So many folks work hard to generate a flight of 15 minutes,"
Although the public sees a show that lasts just minutes in the sky, they do not get to see what goes on behind the scenes. In addition to the pilot prepping for his flight, there is a team of maintainers that works to keep each jet fully mission capable at every location.
"It takes hours and hours to make that sortie," Captain Corrigan said. "A lot of people work very hard to make this happen."
ACC certification also provides an opportunity to get several demonstration teams together. It gives pilots a chance to share knowledge of what it's like on the road and allows everyone to see each other's show.
To Captain Corrigan, receiving the ACC stamp of approval means the teams have performances worthy of representing both the command and the Air Force.
"Everyone is on the same page, knows the job and executes it to a T," said Captain Corrigan.
The 2010 air show season will run from March to November.