Pilots and maintainers of the Air Force’s elite F-22 Raptor Demo Team visited Hirschi High School Thursday to inspire and educate students about possibilities of a career in the Air Force.
Capt. Duston O’Brien, an F-22 pilot with the demo team, said he and the team visit schools and air shows around the country to talk about the Air Force and its fifth-generation fighter, the F-22 Raptor.
The $143-million jet offers never-before-seen stealth capability allowing it to enter enemy territory and attack without being seen on radar.
A “super engine” allows the craft to hit supersonic speed without engaging afterburners.
The F-22 can reach Mack 2 (twice the speed of sound) and can climb to 60,000 feet – about 10 miles up in the air.
“Air dominance” is the mission for this jet which has 10 weapons stations including heat-seeking missiles and a 22mm Gatling gun that can shoot 6,000 rounds per minute.
Megan Morrissey, with Sheppard Air Force Base Public Affairs, said every F-22 maintainer begins their training right here at Sheppard.
The Air Force is looking for young people who are motivated and want to succeed in life, Maj. Paul “Loco” Lopez, commander and F-22 pilot said.
Whatever career field a person is interested in the civilian world, they can probably have that career in the Air Force, plus have their education paid for, get to see the world and other benefits.
Each member of the demo team introduced themselves and gave various reasons for joining the Air Force. Some could no longer afford college and turned to the military, others wanted an opportunity to see the world. The team members expressed a desire to do something greater than themselves and give back to the country that they love.
Two of the teams’ F-22 Raptors touched down near SAFB today and they will be performing during the SAFB Guardians of Freedom Air Show this weekend, Oct. 26-27.
Other performers at the air show include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demo team and the Wings of Blue Parachute demo team.
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