F-22 Raptor Climbs After Tactical Pitch, Hot Engines Make the Rear Look Like It’s Melting

For all their capabilities, the two American fifth-generation fighter jets, the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning, were not seen by us civilians in battle all that much. This means that the only proper way for us to enjoy them performing incredible maneuvers is at air shows. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) knows this, and this is why it has two highly trained demonstration teams, one for each plane.
F-22 Raptor climbing during air show in Canada 15 photos
Photo: USAF/Staff Sgt. Donald Hudson
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In the Raptor corner, the demo team is led by Maj. Joshua Gunderson, tasked with showcasing “the unmatched maneuverability of the Air Force’s 5th generation dominance stealth fighter” in front of civilians.

It is him flying the Raptor you’re looking at in the main photo of this piece. The pic was snapped back in mid-July, and recently made public by the Air Force, and it shows the plane during a performance at the Cold Lake Air Show in Alberta, Canada.

The pilot is engaged in a steep climb, shortly after he performed something called tactical pitch. To perform the maneuver and then climb, the pilot pushes the two Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines to the edge of their 70,000 pounds of thrust capacity, and uses the plane's two-dimensional thrust vectoring capabilities.

Because the engines are running hot, and on account of the angle of the shot, the rear end of the plane seems to be melting away.

Out of production but still in service, the F-22 Raptor is capable of reaching a top speed of Mach 2 (1,534 mph/2,469 kph), and if need be can climb to an operational ceiling of over 50,000 feet (15 km). When fully loaded with fuel, the thing has a maximum range of 1,841 miles (2,962 km).

The F-22 is not on the list of planes that will make it into the USAF’s future streamlined fleet, but expect it to see flying for a lot more years nonetheless.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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