F-22 Raptor Demo Team members, MSgt Delmont Benjamin, Major Dan Dickinson, and TSgt Jonathan Billie outside of London International Airport Executive Aviation, May 24, 2016. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

F-22 Pilot Ready For AirShow London

A pilot who will be at the controls of one of the star attractions at AirShow London says he’s excited about flying over the city.

Major Dan (Rock) Dickinson has flown the F-22 Raptor fighter jet all over the globe for the last eight years. But this September will be the first time he brings the aircraft to Canada.

Dickinson, who leads the 19-man Raptor’s Demo team, will fly into the city for AirShow London September 17 and 18. In preparation for the show, he was in London Tuesday with two members of his team for a site inspection and immediately offered praise.

“As far as the hospitality, London’s been great. The location and the field set-up that they’ve got for us and the maintenance support looks like it is going to work out wonderfully,” says Dickinson. “We as a team are extremely excited to bring the F-22 to London.”

Airshow London is one of 22 airshows this year that will feature the U.S. Air Force’s newest fighter jet.

“We’re going everywhere from Fairford, in the United Kingdom, to two shows in Canada, we’re flying in Alaska, then we’re everywhere from North Carolina to California in the United States,” says Dickinson.

The F-22 is known for its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics. Its sleek aerodynamic design and increased thrust allows the F-22 to cruise at supersonic airspeeds without using fuel consuming afterburner.

Dickinson began flying in 2005, joining the F-22 team in 2008. Since then, he has logged over 850 hours in the aircraft. Dickinson was named the Demonstration Commander in December. It is a two-year posting.

Two F-22s will arrive in London from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia on September 15, allowing the crew a day to visit Children’s Hospital.

“Every airshow we like to go over to the local children’s hospital. We bring a bunch of stickers and handouts and anything we can do to make their day just a little bit better,” says Dickinson. “I would say showcasing the aircraft, as well as hanging out with the kids and trying to give back to them are two of the things we really enjoy.”

More information about AirShow London can be found at www.airshowlondon.com.