F-35 in the Sky Over the Columbia Basin Will Be Flown By a Woman
The HAPO Over the River Drive-In Air Show runs from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. today, tomorrow and Sunday. The best views of the aviation spectacular, featuring planes from World War II all the way to the most modern fighter jets, are from Columbia Park in Kennewick and Wade Park in Pasco. Ticket details on that here.
For some of the performers participating, Friday's show will only be their fifth performance of the year. The performances they have been able to do this year have been limited, obviously, due to COVID-19. But on the bright side, because of times we live in, this drive-in air show experience will be one we've never had before, nor maybe, ever again.
The first female in the history of the Air Force to command a Fighter Demonstration Team, and to pilot the aircraft, Captain Kristin Wolfe, call sign "BEO", (Beowulf, get it?), will be streaking across show center around 700 mph in her F-35 Lightning II.
Wolfe received her official certification to lead the team from Air Combat Command head Gen. Mike Holmes, at the Air Force’s Heritage Flight Training Course at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. She previously served as an instructor pilot for the 388th and first flew F-22A Raptors, but transitioned to the F-35 in 2017.
She has about 800 hours flying the two aircraft.
Tri-Cities is very fortunate to be able to land a demonstration of this caliber, in fact I haven't been this excited with aviation anticipation since the B-2 Bomber flyover a number of years ago. The HAPO Over the River Drive-In Air Show meets most of the criteria to perform according to the Commander.
She said, "We are traveling a lot less than we normally would based off the type of air shows that can have good separation which are typically just the over water shows or shows on beaches or drive-in shows, so we are kind of limited there with shows that we are allowed to go to."
Gates for ticket-holding carloads open at 0930 each day.