GEELONG, Australia, March 8, 2011 — More than 30 future aviators gathered around an F‑16 fighter jet based at Misawa Air Base, Japan, during the 2011 Australia International Air Show here March 5.
The students are members of the Australian Air League, a volunteer organization for young people interested in aviation.
“Our organization gives the children a better appreciation of how aviation affects Australia, said Michael Diamond, the organization’s 2nd officer and acting commander of its Sunbury Squadron.
Members of the Pacific Air Forces F‑16 demonstration team gave the children a tour of the main U.S. performer at the bi-annual air show, which drew more than 180,000 people over six days. The public didn’t have the opportunity to reach out and touch the jets, as the young aviation enthusiasts did.
“This is an absolute buzz for the children today,” Diamond said. “The general public got to see the jets fly, but through your program, the children were able to get closer and speak with the people that handle it, and this will be something that they remember for an awful long time.”
The performance thrilled the young people with the thought of flying an F‑16.
“The F‑16 is just awesome, and the performance was really cool,” said 13-year old Emaon Connor, the acting leading cadet. The students met two of the pilots and many of the maintenance personnel who work on the F‑16.
“It was wonderful having the kids with us and showing them what our whole mission as the Pacaf demo team is all about,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Timothy Connor, an egress systems craftsman. Connor showed the children all around the plane, introduced them to the other team members and answered many of their questions.
“The ability for the children to be able to come out here and put their hands on the aircraft allowed them to see the bigger picture of what we and the pilots do was pretty awesome,” Connor said.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)