JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
With the 2017 Joint Base San Antonio Air Show and Open House at Kelly Field on Port San Antonio just days away, the next generation of aviators is just waiting to be inspired.
For Maj. Joe Stallings, growing up on the east coast provided many opportunities to get inspired to serve after going to air shows each summer on a regular basis.
Fast forward to 2017, and Stallings is now an instructor pilot at the 559th Flying Training Squadron, part of the 12th Flying Training Wing, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. He is also the JBSA Air Show and Open House director of flight operations, responsible for coordinating the military and civilian aircraft that will thrill the crowds Nov. 4 and 5 during the show.
The JBSA public affairs team had a chance to catch up with Stallings and find out how air shows inspired him to join the Air Force and fly the aircraft he used to see in the skies every summer.
Question: When was the first time you went to an air show? Were you inspired?
Stallings: I grew up in southeast Virginia, surrounded by Langley Air Force Base, Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. My family went to air shows every summer, and I remember watching the Thunderbirds, U.S. Navy Blue Angels and many other performers. It didn't take me long to figure out wanted to be flying at air shows instead of watching them.
Question: What is the coolest part about air shows in your opinion?
Stallings: Air shows offer a look behind the scenes to see these impressive machines up close and meet the air crews that make it happen every day protecting our country.
Question: If you could only see one act fly at the air show---who would it be and why?
Stallings: I love watching the military demos. After flying in the Air Force for a few years, I understand the hard work that makes them happen. However, my favorite acts are the older warbirds. It's amazing to watch such unique aircraft still flying, especially the ones with only a handful still airworthy, such as the B-29 Superfortress, B-17 Flying Fortress, and P-39 Airacobra.
Question: How proud are you to serve in the Air Force?
Stallings: I feel privileged to serve in the Air Force, particularly doing something as fun as flying and instructing other pilots so we can continue our rich aviation heritage is simply the best job in the world.
For more information about the JBSA Air Show and Open House, visit www.jbsaairshow.com. You can also follow the air show on JBSA's Facebook and Twitter pages using #JBSAairshow.