The Pacific Air Forces F-16 Demonstration Team hasn’t performed at an airshow since the beginning of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic. However, the team has been training consistently to hone their skills to perform for aviation enthusiasts and demo team fans across Japan, and throughout the entire Indo-Pacific region. Maj. Josiah “Sirius” Gaffney, PACAF F-16 Demo Team commander, and the rest of the team were re-certified by Col. Timothy B. Murphy, 35th Fighter Wing vice commander at Misawa Air Base, July 22, 2021. Murphy, whose father was an F-16 demo pilot himself, watched as Gaffney soared through the clear Misawa skies performing tight turns and high-speed maneuvers to demonstrate the raw power and maneuverability of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
“The demo team plays such a big part in showcasing, not just what a specific aircraft can do, but how that fits into the overall picture of what Pacific Air Forces is doing to protect our allies, and provide deterrence against our adversaries,” said Murphy. “It’s neat knowing that they’re going to go out and provide that strategic messaging throughout the theater from right here in Misawa.”
Demonstration teams must be certified annually. This certification shows that the PACAF F-16 Demo Team will be able to safely demonstrate the high-speed aerial capabilities of the U.S. Air Force to airshow audiences all over the Indo-Pacific region in 2021.
“They did a phenomenal job. The crispness of the maneuvers, and the communication back and forth between Sirius and the Safety Observer was outstanding. From the performance of the maintenance team and the support team and just how well it looked, to how well they incorporated the narration and music, to the discussions on the heritage and history connected to the mission, it was all very well done, said Murphy. “I’m very excited for them to be able to fully showcase it because they’re ready and it’s awesome.”
The first of such showcases is the Arctic Lightning Airshow 2021 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The PACAF F-16 Demo Team will be performing a routine Saturday, July 31, 2021 and Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021 with two newly-approved maneuvers: the Double-Immelmann and the Split S. The PACAF F-16 Demonstration Team is comprised of members from the 13th Fighter Squadron, 14th FS and the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. The team includes one pilot, two narrators, one safety observer, a superintendent and a maintenance team comprised of three crew chiefs and four specialists, responsible for the aircraft’s avionics and electrical systems and engines.