F-22 Raptor

The F-22 Raptor will fly at the Kia of Lake Charles Chennault International Airshow, presented by Phillips 66, which takes place May 10-12 at Chennault International Airport.

The Raptor is “the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world,” according to the Air Force.

“The F-22 Raptor is not often demonstrated or exhibited to the public, so this will be a real treat for Airshow fans,” said Airshow Director Mary Jo Bayles and Airshow President Kevin Melton in a joint announcement Thursday. “We’re honored that Air Force officials have awarded the Airshow with the world’s premier fighter jet.”

The F-22 Raptor is a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force because it brings air dominance quickly and at great distances and defeat threats attempting to deny access to the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

It is a combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability.

The Raptor completes both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Its debut represented an exponential leap in America’s war fighting capabilities.  

The Raptor is part of the Air Combat Command F-22 Demonstration Team based at Langley Air Force Base. Its pilot for the Airshow is is Major Paul “Loco” Lopez, the team’s first African-American pilot.

Lopez will perform a half-hour flight at the Airshow, demonstrating the handling characteristics of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world.

The team will also partner with an Air Force Heritage Flight — with a vintage P-51 — to exhibit the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft.

The F-22 Raptor set to fly over Chennault’s airfield is one of a total force of 183. These $143-million aircraft were approved for full rate production in 2005 and have since been used primarily by the Air Education and Training Command, Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Force organizations.

The F-22 possesses a sophisticated sensor suite allowing the pilot to track, identify, shoot and kill air-to-air threats before being detected.

The aircraft’s engines produce more thrust than any current fighter engine. The combination of sleek aerodynamic design and increased thrust allows the F-22 to cruise at supersonic airspeeds (greater than 1.5 Mach) without using afterburner — a characteristic known as supercruise. Supercruise greatly expands the F-22 ‘s operating envelope in both speed and range over current fighters, which must use fuel-consuming afterburner to operate at supersonic speeds.

The Raptor headlines a 2019 Airshow that also features the aerobatics of the Phillips 66 Aerostars, a variety of entertainment from the Red Bull aviation teams, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Kids’ Zone, exhibits, and much more.

General admission tickets are $20 in advance at chennaultairshow.com and $24 at the gate. Children 12 get free general admission.

The Airshow opens May 10 with a Friday evening show, with gates opening at 5 p.m. and opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. The shows on May 11 and May 12 (Mother’s Day) will have gates opening at 9 a.m. and the welcoming ceremonies beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Parking is free. Food and drinks will be sold. Premium seating is available.

Proceeds from the Airshow benefit STEM education outreach. For more information, visit chennaultairshow.com or the Chennault International Airshow page on Facebook.