Major Henry “Schadow” Schantz, F-22 Raptor Pilot
Major Henry Schantz talked with TCD about this weekend's Milwaukee Air and Water Show, his personal background, and piloting the F-22. Photo gallery by Lacy Landre.
With the Milwaukee Air and Water Show coming up this weekend, TCD got to chat with Maj. Henry “Schadow” Schantz, who will be flying the F-22 Raptor.
When I was a kid, I loved aviation, but I never thought I’d be doing this kind of stuff when I got older. I had a friend who was a Pan Am pilot, and so he took me out and showed me a lot of that kind of stuff. It wasn’t until high school that I really wanted to start doing this.
TCD: Sounds like you truly love being able to do what you do.
That is a very true statement. It is a great thing to be able to go out with a smile on your face and get excited about what it is you do. I grin like a school kid every time I get in.
TCD: Did you grow up going to air shows?
I went to a couple. I grew up in New Jersey, and my family wasn’t a military family, so it wasn’t one of those things that I did too often.
TCD: Does the rate at which technology moves tend to have an affect on aircrafts? Do they have to be replaced and updated rather quickly?
The plane I flew before this was from the 1960s, so this one is definitely an upgrade. This jet was designed in the early 90s, but its also very much computer oriented, so when the time comes to upgrade, we just take out the old card and put the new one in, so its much easier to upgrade and update it in that regard.
TCD: Is it different flying these aircrafts in an air show because of it being a more entertainment-based setting?
Of course an airshow serves the purpose of entertainment, as that’s why most people are there. What I’m also doing is showing the maneuverability of this aircraft. Every single pilot we have here, I instructed on how to fly it. I’m pretty much a combat-ready fighter pilot instructor, and all the other guys who are out here are qualified to do all the things that I do, I’m just qualified to do them at lower altitudes and in front of people. That’s really the big difference there.
TCD: What can the attendees of the Milwaukee Air Show expect to see?
They can definitely expect to see the amazing maneuverability of this aircraft, which is primarily because of the computers and flight controls that are in it. I’m going to go from anywhere from 60 knots ground speed all the way up to 600 knots. I’m going to pretty much take it and rotate it around itself right in front of the crowd. There’s just a whole lot of things that this aircraft can do, and I’m going to try to demonstrate that.
TCD: Is it great to see the crowd respond so positively to all of the demonstrations?
It’s always great to see everyone from the kids all the way up to the older crowd getting excited. The biggest thing besides the demo that we do is the Heritage Flight. We’re bringing in a P-38, which I will fly right after my demo. The people who have flown or been in those aircrafts before really appreciate what they’ve gone through and what has happened over time.
TCD: It just seems like it would affecting on different levels to different people.
It is. Its amazing because you’ll see little kids who are just excited about jets and noise and then you’ll see the older crowd who reminisce on what actually happened. It’s a beautiful thing.
Staff Photographer Lacy Landre was there to capture a few images as the F-22 came in for a landing at the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee on Thursday.