Aviation Nation Air and Space Expo Celebrates USAF 70th Anniversary at Nellis AFB 2017

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This year’s Aviation Nation Air & Space Expo celebrated the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force with exhibitions and demonstrations you hardly see at an aviation exhibition. For the first time at an airshow, the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter demonstrated its role in ground attack and air superiority in a single mission. The demo started with a simulated attack of Nellis AFB, which was executed by F-16s from the 64th Aggressor Squadron. F-15 Eagle, which stood alert, took off to intercept the aggressors. They were soon joined by F-35s and the Aggressors were shot down or chased away. The demo lasted for 20 minutes and was also supported by A-10C from Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.

The static exhibition showed the known inventory of the USAF, even a U-2S Dragon Lady from Beale AFB, CA was flown in for the event, an EA-18G Growler from VAQ-140, which was detached for an exercise at NAS Fallon, NV was present to represent the USAF part of the Navy’s Growler fleet.

The highly appreciated heritage flight was conducted by a P-51 Mustang, an F-22A Lightning II and two A-10C Thunderbolt II, further demonstrations were flown by a T-33A, the F-16C Fighting Falcon, an F-22A Lightning II and the Texas Flying Legend with their -51D Mustang, B-25J Mitchell, TBM-3E Avenger, P-40E Warhawk, Spitfire MK IX, FG-1D Corsair. Bill Braack was present with his “Smoke-n-Thunder“. The Airshow concluded with the famous USAF Demonstration Team, the Thunderbirds and their F-16C/D, which once more showed an impressive show.

Finally, it must be said, that there wasn’t very much missing at this Air Show. The bus transfer from the public parking at the racetrack went smooth to the base and from there it was only a short walk to the exhibitions. Either static or flying demonstrations, Joe public was welcomed and the hard work of he base personal for the program was everywhere to see and appreciated. The only down point is, that the next airshow at Nellis AFB won’t be held before 2019.

Peter Boschert

Peter is a photographer covering events in the United States and in Europe. He likes to cover Nellis AFB, NAS Fallon and RAF Lakenheath.

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