Local

March 22, 2013

Luke reaches millionth hour milestone

Tags:
STEPHEN DELGADO
Thunderbolt staff writer

The millionth F-16 Fighting Falcon flying training hour at Luke Air Force Base was reached March 13. F-16s first touched down at Luke AFB on Dec. 6, 1982. To date, Luke has graduated 18,164 F-16 fighter pilots. Approximately 2,000 F-16 hours are flown a month by Luke pilots and students.

Translating a million hours into years equals 114 years and one month. Going that far back in time places a person in February of 1899.

Luke Air Force Base reached an F-16 milestone March 13 when a Fighting Falcon took to the skies marking a million flying hours in this venerable aircraft at Luke.

The historic flight was flown by 1st Lt. Matthew Wetherbee, 309th Fighter Squadron student pilot, and Capt. Joseph Walker, 309th Fighter Squadron instructor pilot and assistant chief of weapons.

“I was Lieutenant Wetherbee’s instructor pilot of record and flew in the rear cockpit,” Walker said. “The flight went very well, with Lieutenant Wetherbee performing tactical intercepts to achieve a visual identification of a simulated enemy aircraft and employ weapons. My role was to ensure safe execution and provide airborne instruction to ensure that the desired learning objectives were met.”

Col. John Hanna, 56th Operations Group commander, said that Luke is the first base to achieve the 1-million-hour mark.

“This feat was quite an historic event, and I was honored to be part of it,” he said. “I started flying the F-16 with the 62nd Fighter Squadron in 1989 when we used to do much of the F-16 training at MacDill AFB, Fla.

“As an instructor in the 309th FS from 2002 to 2003, it was neat to have a young lieutenant be the one to actually hit the mark. He’ll be able to carry that his whole career and it was fitting that a student be the one, since the milestone was reached at the premier F-16 training base in the world. It was even more special since this great event occurred in the same squadron where I was previously assigned.”

What’s more, Walker praised the quality of students who train at Luke, and said he looks forward to continuing this legacy.

“The caliber of students we receive here makes my job much easier and very rewarding,” he said. “Their motivation and desire to learn is remarkable. I am very pleased to have a part in the mission of training the fighter pilots of tomorrow. I hope Luke continues to fly fighters and train fighter pilots for another million hours, if not in the F-16, then in other fighters, continuing the tremendous history and legacy of this base.”

The F-16 arrived at Luke Dec. 6, 1982, and since then thousands of students have been trained here.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy graphic

Fitness center gets Xtreme makeover

Courtesy graphic Above is an architectural rendering of the changes to the outside of the Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness Center. Renovations also include a remodel of most of the interior. The project will take place over t...
 
 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

History gets paint job

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY James Bridges and Hayden Yager, civilian contractors, prepare the F-104C Starfighter static display for painting Aug. 12 in the Luke Air Force Base Airpark. The static displays in the airpark will be ...
 
 

News Briefs August 29, 2015

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will begin an active-shooter exercise between 8 and 10 a.m. Thursday. It is expected to continue throughout the day. The exercise will include military and local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. On and off-base residents should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruption of...
 

 
AFD-131209-015

SARC receive annual training

The sexual assault prevention and response coordinators and sexual assault victim advocates attend annual training as a commitment to remain resilient and up to date on all current strategies for victims of sexual assault. The ...
 
 
DT_Pronghorn-Fawns-in-the-pen-2011

Pronghorn home on range

John Kulberg Two-month old twin Sonoran pronghorn fawns remain vigilant while resting within the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge semi-captive breeding facility. The Goldwater Range is home to the Sonoran pronghorn antelo...
 
 

Shopping Exchange pays Q-O-L dividends

Airmen and their families shopping and dining at Army & Air Force Exchange Service stores and restaurants on Luke Air Force Base generated $522,974 last year for Air Force quality-of-life programs. Over the past 10 years, the Exchange has provided more than $2.4 billion in dividends to military programs including Club Five Six, Bryant Fitness...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>