JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As military and civilian aerobatic teams take to the skies of Jacksonville Beach this weekend for the annual Sea and Sky Air Show, the F-35 fighter jet is making its first appearance in Northeast Florida.
The jet has fighter capabilities like no other military aircraft, according to its pilot.
"This jet is the King Kong out there. So, nobody sees you. You're able to see everybody and execute your mission with very little friction," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Dojo Olson, the F-35 demonstration team commander and pilot.
Olson is the first pilot to take the F-35 to the skies on a demonstration tour, giving spectators a glimpse of the world's most advanced fighter jet to demonstrate its capabilities.
"We're going to fly directly over the beach, right over people's heads into what's called the Showbox. That's our little protected species of air space that we can do all of our flipping and flopping and loop.
Olson said the jet can slow down to 50 mph, then take it all the way to 720 mph, which is the speed of sound.
This is the first time that people around the country are seeing the F-35 jet. They started showing the fighter jets in Melbourne in South Florida; their second to last show stop is in Jacksonville and they'll wrap up their tour in Las Vegas.
The F-35 is currently being used in the Air Force overseas in mission combat, giving our armed forces the advantage in the skies.
There has been a push for years to bring the F-35 to Jacksonville permanently. In 2017, Jacksonville lost its bid to add the F-35s to the 125th fighter wing housed by the Jacksonville Airport. But Florida Rep. John Rutherford along with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has renewed their push to bring the F-35s to Jacksonville.