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F-22 Raptors land in Great Falls ahead of Mission Over Malmstrom

Posted: 3:42 PM, Jul 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-12 12:53:37-04

GREAT FALLS – The F-22 Raptors, one of the main attractions for this weekend’s Mission Over Malmstrom event, arrived at the 120th Airlift Wing on Thursday afternoon.

U.S. Air Force officials and a few families were on scene to witness the aircrafts’ descent and the two Raptors gave viewers a glimpse of their maneuvers before landing.

Demonstrator pilot and USAF Major Paul Lopez listed some of the maneuvers viewers can expect to see this weekend.

“You’re gonna feel a lot of afterburner. You’re going to see the afterburner as well and you’re gonna see some phenomenal maneuvers with big loops, small loops,” he said.

“You’re gonna see the airplane going fast, the airplane going slow, and you’re just gonna see the airplane doing things that no other fighter jet is able to do,” Lopez added.

While the maneuvers entertain onlookers, they also serve the team’s purpose — recruit, retain, and inspire.

Leading up to the open house at Malmstrom Air Force Base, the F-22 Raptor demonstration team will do community outreach.

Shortly after touching down in the Electric City, the F-22 Raptor team was already out and about in the community with one of the first stops at the pediatric floor at Benefis.

The 13 member team met with children and their families to spread their love of aviation.

“So, we just had the opportunity to meet a young boy named Logan who is obsessed with airplanes and aviation and being able to walk into his room and teach him a little bit about the F-22 demo team and what we do,” said 2nd Lt. Samuel Eckholm. “Put a smile on our face just as his as well and that was a powerful thing to experience.”

For those wishing to see the F-22 Raptors in action, you can attend the  Mission Over Malmstrom open house this weekend.

-Lindsie Hiatt reporting for MTN News