The U.S. military is returning to the Tri-City Water Follies after a one-year hiatus.
The 2017 airshow will include a demonstration of the F-22 Raptor, the Air Force’s newest aircraft, Water Follies announced Tuesday.
“These planes are the top of the top, the coolest of the coolest,” said Kathy Powell, director. “Folks on the river shore are in store for a show like we haven’t seen here.”
The F-22s, part of the Air Combat Command F-22 Demonstration Team based at Langley Air Force Base, performs precision aerial maneuvers to showcase the plane’s capabilities. A vintage P-51 Mustang will perform as part of the Air Force’s Legacy program.
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The single-seat F-22 is manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Powered by twin Pratt & Whitney F119 engines, it has a top speed of almost 1,500 miles per hour. Each plane costs about $150 million.
The F-22s, part of the Air Combat Command F-22 Demonstration Team based at Langley Air Force Base, performs precision aerial maneuvers to showcase the plane’s capabilities.
Budget challenges made it difficult to bring demonstration teams to the area last year. An F-16 demonstration team participated in the 50th Water Follies in 2015. but no group was available in 2016.
Powell credits a safe environment and supportive community for convincing the Air Force to bring its best this year. To accommodate the team, Water Follies is arranging to install arresting cables at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake for any plane that experiences an in-flight emergency.
On the ground, pilots will be housed in the area’s best hotels and furnished with vehicles to ferry them around by a local dealership.
The pilots will be available for community events, as part of the team’s mission to promote the Air Force and support recruiting efforts.
The team will perform during the HAPO Columbia Cup and Over the River Airshow, to be held July 28-30 in the Tri-Cities.