BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Over 100,000 people are expected to attend the annual Field of Flight: Air Show and Balloon Fest this week. However a few dozen got a sneak peak at the marquee aircraft this year: the F-22 Raptor.
“No other aircraft in inventory can fly as high or as fast as the F-22 Raptor,” said Maj. Paul “Loco” Lopez, who is apart of the demonstration team. “It’s a multi-role fighter (plane). So there’s a lot of other jets in the United States military inventory that are multi-role fighters as well. But we just bring another dynamic to the fight.”
The F-22 was stationed at a hangar at Western Michigan University's College of Aviation. Fans lined up to take pictures of it and to shake hands with the crew who maintain the aircraft.
“We’re out here to enhance community relationships and inspire the next generation of maintainers and pilots and just general air force,” said Sgt. Zachary Zistl.
The F-22 is scheduled to take off for air shows around noontime Thursday through Sunday. Lopez said fans can expects to see a "phenomenal” show filled with back flips and barrel rolls.
“If you ever had an interest in aviation and worked on airplanes and fixing airplanes, or even just looking at airplanes in books or just being marveled that these airplanes even fly, I definitely want to encourage you to come out to the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival,” he said. “You will not be disappointed.”