The Paris Air Show is only one month away, so let the speculation begin: will the F-22 make a debut appearance?
I believe the official word is "no comment", and the Paris Air Show press kit excludes the F-22 from the list of aircraft on static display. But there are some encouraging signs that a Raptor could make an at least brief appearance at Le Bourget.
A potential clue came last month when the F-22 flying display got road-tested for the first time at the Hampton Roads Air show. Watch the video here. The show happens to be perfectly timed as a Paris Air Show rehearsal. Hmmm ...
Also, what better way to show solidarity with US President George Bush's new best friend in France, Monsieur Sarkozy?
There is some history to overcome. When the F-117 stealth fighter made its Paris Air Show debut in 1991, the pilot created an international incident when he took a swipe at the arm of the French Defense Minister, who ill-advisedly tried to touch the aircraft's wing. There also remain legendary tales of a conspiracy by French air traffic control to make the F-117 fly a circuitous route that roughly corresponded to a tour of the French military's radar installations.
The DEW Line, for one, hopes that all of this could be overcome. A likely scenario may be for the F-22 to make a brief pass of the air show, but takeoff and land from Britain.