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VIDEO: WWII P-51 Mustang flies with new F-35 fighter jet at Andrews Air Force base

Steve Hinton flying in the P-51 Wee Willy II. (Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation photo/Released)
November 15, 2022

Distant generations were recently bridged together when a World War II fighter jet flew over Andrews Air Force Base beside a modern fifth-generation counterpart, as shown in clips compiled by American Military News.

A P-51 Mustang and an F-35 flew side-by-side over an applauding crowd at the 2022 Joint Base Andrews Air & Space Expo, which was held from Sept. 17-18.

The pair of fighters flew as part of the Air Force Heritage Flight program, which aims to “dramatically display our U.S. Air Force air power history,” according to the Air Force. 

In the Heritage Flight program, modern fighters are piloted by Air Combat Command trained military pilots, while trained and certified civilians pilot the vintage planes.

The P-51 was first deployed in 1941 and was helpful in escorting heavy bombers deep into Germany during World War II, according to the Air Force. 

P-51 Mustangs were also used for photographic reconnaissance and ground support, because its performance was limited at high altitudes, according to the Air Force.

The F-35 is the Air Force’s newest fifth-generation fighter, first entering service in 2015. The government assumes a 66-year life cycle for the planes, and they are expected to eventually make up a large part of the military’s tactical air fleet, according to Forbes.

The plane is designed to replace aging fleets worldwide as “far and away the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter,” the Air Force says.

Other vintage planes flown by the Heritage Flight program include the F-86 Sabre, a Korean War-era jet; P-38 Lightning, known by enemies as the “fork-tailed devil”; and P-40 Warhawk, known for the shark face painted around its air intake, according to the Air Force.

The program flies three other modern planes, including the F-16, introduced in 1979; A-10, introduced in 1977; and F-22, introduced in 2005.