Air Force base hosts 'Thunder Over Dover' air show this weekend

ByRebeccah Hendrickson WPVI logo
Friday, September 13, 2019
A Delaware native takes the sky in this weekend's 'Thunder Over Dover' air show. Beccah Hendrickson reports on Action News at 6 on Sept. 13, 2019.

DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- The F-22 Raptor is a stealth fighter aircraft capable of going faster than the speed of sound without using an afterburning.

"You're going to see the airplane doing loops, rolls, going fast and going slow," said the jet's pilot, Major Paul Lopez.

He's part of the Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team. His nickname is Loco.

"They call me Loco because I'm crazy about what I do in the Air Force. I love being a fighter pilot. I just love serving my country," he said.

The F-22 is one of the planes that will be showcased Saturday and Sunday at the Thunder Over Dover Air Show.

The team travels all over the country doing air shows almost every weekend from March to November.

For the crew chief, however, this weekend is special. It's his first time being part of a performance in his hometown.

"It's super awesome just seeing how much it's grown up since I've left, and just being around my friends and family," said Zachary Zistl, who grew up in Dover.

While the weekend is still a work trip, Zistl is making time for a different type of service. Thursday, he went around to Dover area high schools to speak with students about his job.

"I had no intentions of being in the military when I was in high school," he explained. "I did a little bit of college, wasn't really for me. I came home one day and was like, 'Mom, dad, I need all this paperwork, I'm joining the Air Force.'"

Now, he's hoping to inspire the next generation to join the Air Force by showing them how one hometown hero can help put a fighter jet in the sky.