A-10 DEMO TEAM LAND’S AT PHOENIX GOODYEAR AIRPORT

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Story and photography by William Ellison

This past weekend the City of Buckeye held its annual Buckeye Air Fair February 17, And February 18. This year’s air fair featured the A-10 Demo team from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona about a 2 ½ hour drive south of Buckeye. Many rumors had been going around the west valley of where the A-10 demo team would stage for the show. Many were under the impression since LUKE AFB is near by they would just go to LUKE since they are military aircraft. But the week finally came and aviation geeks like me got a very special treat at the Phoenix Goodyear airport with the arrival of 2 special painted A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft.

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Memphis Belle III and Blacksnake livery were the A-10’s that were staged at the Goodyear airport for the Buckey Air Fair. Memphis Belle III is painted in the Vietnam-era camouflage to honor the Prisoners of War, the starboard side of the A-10’s nose features the names of all the unit’s members who lost their lives or were captured during the conflict, accompanied by the National League of Families POW/MIA flag.

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The Blacksnake livery A-10 which was painted back in 2021 by 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard. This aircraft was transferred to DM and the A-10 demo just before the unit converted back to the F-16 for the 2nd time in unit history. The 122nd Fighter Wing conceptualized the sleek design in order to commemorate 100 years of aviation in the Indiana National Guard. The blacksnake paint job has always been one of my favorite paint schemes to date and was always my most eluded airplane to get a photo of so was very happy to see it parked at the airport 2 miles from my house.

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The Phoenix Goodyear Airport is no stranger to military aviation as the airport sees the German Air Force who use Lufthansa Aviation Training to train pilots on basic flying skills before heading to Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT). Many cross-country transits to and from the west coast from T-45’s heading to El Centro NAF to US ARMY Aviation units heading to and from California. The cool thing with Goodyear airport is you never know what it going to drop in for a fuel stop or spend the. A few weeks ago, we had VMFA-323 stop by and spent the night before heading back home. Some of the more rare military airplanes to visit goodyear have been the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare) KC-767 Tanker Transport and the Brazilian Air Force Embraer C-390 Millennium which both spent a few weeks in town for testing.

Aside from military aviation Goodyear airport is home to several flight schools including, United Aviate Academy by United Airlines, and Lufthansa Aviation Training and the smaller inhouse school FLY GYR. The airport also has a very large maintenance company, AerSale Inc who performs maintenance for several airlines around the world.

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Would like to give a thanks to airport FBO Lux Air Jet Centers for all that they have done for the aviation spotters and photographers and a special thank you to Jennifer at Nest Self Storage for accommodating and allowing me you use their property for departure photos.

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