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F-22 Raptor Looks Like It's Scraping the Asphalt Taking Off, Landing Gear Already Up

We’re used to seeing airplanes, military and otherwise, both in the air and on the ground. The many instances of witnessing them taking off have also burned into our brains a certain belief that airplanes should always have the landing gear extended while doing so - and this is why an image such as this one here has something very unsettling to it.
F-22 Raptor taking off 9 photos
F-22 Raptor taking offF-22 Raptor over Nellis Air Force BaseF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 Raptor
We’re looking at an F-22 Raptor, taking off from the runway of the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada at the beginning of the month. And it’s not doing it in the conventional fashions, with its wheels still visible while so close to the ground, as the pilot seems to have decided to retract the gear as soon as the aircraft was airborne.

The Raptor is assigned to the 433rd Weapons Squadron, which is part of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Weapons School. The unit has been around ever since 1943, it is based at Nellis, and is in charge with training “tactical experts and leaders to control and exploit air, space and cyber on behalf of the joint force.“

The 433rd used a variety of aircraft over the years, starting with the P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang it sent against the Japanese over New Guinea, Rabaul, and the Philippines during the Second World War, and ending with the F-15C Eagle and F-22 Raptor it currently uses for its missions – it is one of two Weapons School units operating two types of aircraft at the same time.

The squadron uses Nellis as a sort of shooting range, sending its aircraft on a "peacetime battlefield that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world” against 1,900 possible targets spread throughout the desert.

The Weapons School has two classes each year, and some 100 pilots graduate each time, taking “back to their respective units the latest tactics, techniques and procedures for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat.”

Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-22s.


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