It Began With Airshows Meet The 419 FW's first F-35 Pilot.

  • Jan 20, 2016 9:59am GMT

It all started at an airshow. The 419th Fighter Wing's first F-35 pilot, Maj. Jayson Rickard talks about his transition from the F-16 to the Air Force's newest fighter jet and what inspired him to be a pilot. Growing up near an airbase and going to the airshow every year he is now both an airline pilot and an airforce fighter pilot, a citizen airman, the face of the future.

There are thousands of stories in the airshow industry about someone seeing a particular pilot or performance and that experience driving them toward an aviation career,” says John Cudahy the president of the International Council of Air Shows. “Extraordinary, memorable experiences have influence. Seeing … any of our industry’s top pilots do what they do at airshows can certainly make a person thinking about becoming a pilot take the next step into aviation. Airshows and the experiences young people have at airshows are a driving force behind attracting the next generation of pilots," he continued.

The latest ICAS survey indicates that 14% of adult airshow spectators are between the ages of 18 and 25 and last year alone they reached over 11 million people, showing that the industry can clearly influence whether someone decides to explore aviation as a career as it did with Maj. Rickard in the video below.

Video by Michael McCool 419th Fighter Wing Public Affairs.

The 419th Fighter Wing (419 FW) is an Air Reserve Component (ARC) of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the Tenth Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. It was the first Reserve unit to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon.