Air Force announces plans for bomber force

A B-2 flyover is seen at the Missouri Inaugural ceremonies in Jefferson City Jan. 9, 2017. 

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE — The public is invited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the B-2 Spirit at the Wings Over Whiteman air show next weekend.

The 2019 show will have a focus on the 30th anniversary of the first B-2 test flight, according to air show director Lt. Col. Jasen Hunter. The B-2, housed at Whiteman Air Force Base with the 509th Bomb Wing, will be one of three headliners. 

“The B-2 will perform its demonstration as well as be on static display where folks can ask questions,” Hunter said. “Something we haven’t done in a while, the T-38 local companion trainers will be in formation together and fly by the crowd at the end of the B-2 demonstration.”

The event will also feature other Whiteman AFB aircraft including the T-38 Talon, A-10 Thunderbolt II and UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter. 

2019 also marks the first WOW performance from the Air Combat Command’s F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, plus performances from the A-10C Thunderbolt II demo team and the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. 

“The F-22 is a fifth-generation fighter and in years past it was at Whiteman but was only on display,” Hunter said. “Generally pilots are there to answer questions but you don’t get to see them in action. They are probably the most advanced fighters in the world, it can do some things, maneuvers that generally no other airplane can do — that’s something people want to come see. … When you see it, it speaks for itself what it can do.”

Hunter said the A-10 demonstration team, part of Whiteman’s 442nd Fighter Wing, will do a search and rescue demonstration to show many of the aspects an A-10 does while supporting troops.

In addition to the dozens of military and civilian flight performances, guests can also visit numerous static displays of various vintage and modern aircraft Saturday and Sunday, plus a car show Saturday.

As a “big World War II warbird fan,” Hunter said he’s looking forward to seeing Doc, one of only two operational B-29s, along with the B-17 and P-51.

Another first will be the DH-115 Vampire, the world’s first single-engine jet fighter, on display at Whiteman. 

Other displays and vendors will include recruiting stations and cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy giving glider demonstrations.

Yet another new feature will be a performance from Raptor, the commercial music ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Heartland Band, stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. The band will perform between 9 and 11 a.m. both days to offer some entertainment before flights begin at 11 a.m.

Hunter said the 442nd Fighter Wing and the 509th Bomb Wing work together to fund and operate the Wings Over Whiteman show with the goal of hosting it every two years. He said it’s a great example of total force integration at Whiteman and a great opportunity for airmen to interact with civilians. 

“People get to see the good stuff (that we do), they don’t get to know us and our mission. Those things are on display, we go practice on a routine basis so it’s a good time for our crews to hone their operational skills,” Hunter said of hosting Wings Over Whiteman for the public. “The F-22 hones their skills too by performing for folks here — it shows why we train to do what we do. They’re meeting airmen who support and assist, those folks who are going out every day and doing extraordinary things, and not just pilots but support staff too. 

“Civilans don’t normally see that. There will be airmen in uniform and volunteering in staff shirts, it’s a great opportunity to get to know about them a little bit and what they do. We’re excited to do that. It’s not something we get to do every day but we welcome the opportunity to do that.”

Wings Over Whiteman will be hosted June 15-16 at Whiteman AFB. Gates open at 9 a.m. and flying starts at 11 a.m., although Hunter encouraged guests to arrive early due to heavy traffic. The show will end at 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free. 

Hunter also suggested visiting www.whiteman.af.mil/WOW for a full list of performers, vendors and static displays that includes information about many of the acts and displays, directions to the base, and items allowed and not allowed on base.

Editor

Nicole Cooke is the editor for the Sedalia Democrat, overseeing all newsroom operations and assisting with news coverage of Sedalia and Pettis County. She can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.

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