OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- An A-10 Thunderbolt II from Osan Air Base's 25th Fighter Squadron greeted visitors at the Gyeongnam Sacheon Aerospace Expo, Republic of Korea, Oct. 24-29, 2018.
The aircraft, commonly known for its close-air support (CAS) missions, made its appearance at the air show to give visitors a chance to interact with the aircraft, nicknamed the tank-killer.
The 25th’s own A-10 pilot, U.S. Air Force Capt. Hunter Hayes, answered questions and posed for photos with air show visitors.
“My goal is to just help the community to have a better understanding of us and for us to have a better understanding of them,” he said. “It’s awesome. People are out here taking great photos and they’ve got a lot of interest in the jet, and I love being out here to answer those questions.”
The air show boasted many exciting exhibits such as virtual reality demonstrations, aerial demonstrations, music, dancing, food, and more. While many of the static aircraft displays were roped off to prevent visitors from venturing too close, the A-10 aircrew allowed visitors to personalize their A-10 experience by getting close enough to touch the aircraft and pose for photos with the aircrew. Attendees also bought patches, t-shirts, lanyards, and other souvenirs.
“It’s an awesome opportunity,” Hayes said. “I’m glad I was able to bring [the A-10] out. The community has had tons of questions already and shown a lot of interest. It’s been a privilege to be able to answer those questions and be out here and interact with the community as the air show goes on.”
The A-10 exhibit drew thousands of visitors during the air show.
“I’m very interested in it,” said Yong Hwa Ok, who attended the air show with his two daughters. “This is the first time we visited [the air show] with my family.”
For Ok, the highlight of the show was seeing the Black Eagles aerial demonstration. The Black Eagles are South Korea’s premiere aerial demo team who perform at air shows worldwide.
“I was very nervous because before visiting, I only saw them in a magazine and TV shows,” he said. “The real flight is amazing. A lot of people came to enjoy it and I’m here to enjoy it with my family and have a good time.”
The Gyeongnam Sacheon Air Expo concluded on Sunday, Oct. 28, and the following day, the A-10 returned to Osan Air Base to continue to defend American interests in the Pacific and the 51 million citizens of South Korea.