Air Force

January 17, 2014

Luke pilot selected to fly F-35

Tags:
Staff Sgt. TIMOTHY BOYER and Airman 1st Class PEDRO MOTA
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Capt. Joshua Arki, 61st Fighter Squadron instructor pilot and chief of weapons and tactics, is welcomed back Dec. 31, 2013, after his final flight in an F-16 Fighting Falcon on the Luke Air Force Base flightline. Arki was selected as the first Luke F-16 pilot to transition to the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter and is currently attending training on the new airframe at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. He is expected to return to his Luke squadron in March.

Flying is a concept that captures the imagination of some people at a very young age; hence the success of characters like Peter Pan, Superman and even a flying house in the 2009 movie “Up.”

Few get to realize that dream, but Capt. Joshua Arki, 61st Fighter Squadron instructor pilot and chief of weapons and tactics, realized his dream by first mastering flight in an F-16 Fighting Falcon and has now been selected as the first Luke Air Force Base F-16 pilot to transition to the F-35 Lightening II joint strike fighter, scheduled to arrive at Luke early this year.

“The decision was made that the first pilot to transition had to be the new squadron’s chief of weapons and tactics,” said Lt. Col. Shamsher Mann, 62nd Fighter Squadron commander. “We needed it to be an Air Force Weapons School graduate. The list was further narrowed based on rank and time on station. We also needed someone who demonstrated superior instructional skills and the competence to take on the daunting task of defining new tactics for a new fighter while building the initial crop of F-35 pilots for the Air Force.”

While there were other contenders, Arki met all criteria and was chosen for the big job, Mann said.

It is bittersweet to give up flying the F-16, Arki said, describing the Fighting Falcon as the greatest multirole fighter ever. But he has hopes of helping the F-35 to meet and maybe surpass that legacy one day.

“There are only a small number of pilots qualified on the F-35, so we are literally creating and testing tactics on a daily basis,” he said.

Arki is currently TDY to Eglin AFB, Fla., where he is learning the ins and outs of the F-35. As an instructor pilot with the 62nd FS for the past four years, it was an adjustment for him to get in the mindset of being a student again.

“I’m learning a lot from the Eglin instructors, and hope to bring back to Luke many of their lessons-learned,” Arki said. “I’m currently in the academic and simulator phase of training, and will begin flying the F-35 in early February.”

The former F-16 pilot is scheduled to return from training in March as he pioneers the future of flying the F-35 here at Luke.

“The battlefield dominance that the F-35 will bring to the table is eye-watering,” Arki said. “The aircraft is amazing.”

Arki was selected for this important role because of his ability to lead the way, Mann said.

“Luke pilots, along with their Eglin counterparts, will be on the leading edge of defining the tactical parameters of how the Air Force will fight with the F-35,” the 62nd FS commander said. “Captain Arki has a lot riding on his shoulders. On those shoulders rests the initial trajectory of the combat training effectiveness of the F-35 when it arrives at Luke. Arki brings the right mix of formal training unit instructional experience and tactical forward thinking.”




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


 
 

 

Lightning II debrief …

Staff Sgt. Staci Miller Senior Airman Roger Combs, 61st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, downloads information from an F-35 Lightning II engine at Luke Air Force Base. Since 2010, more than 1,800 maintainers have been trained on the F-35. The first production F-35A rolled out of assembly in February 2006 in Fort Worth, Texas. Later...
 
 
Courtesy graphic

Commons provides ‘crib’ for Airmen

Courtesy graphic The Community Commons concept design. Renovation has begun and will be completed in May 2016. The Luke Air Force Base Community Center, Bldg. 700, where the 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Wellness Center resi...
 
 

How do you stack up?

With upcoming changes to the enlisted performance report and Air Force promotion system, it’s important to understand how you stack up against your peers, not only within your job, but within your unit as well. The days of receiving time in grade and time in service points are numbered. They are being replaced with a...
 

 

CCAF offers jump on education

The Community College of the Air Force was established in 1972 to recognize academic achievements for technical training by Air Force schools. It awards an associate in applied science degree to enlisted members of the active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command who have completed the course work. Degree programs are...
 
 
Johnny Saldivar

Roberson takes command of AETC

Johnny Saldivar Lt. Gen Darryl Roberson, Air Education and Training Command commander, speaks during the AETC change of command ceremony Tuesday at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Roberson is a command pilot who has mor...
 
 
4_150710-F-NQ441-5x7-036

Salutes and Awards

FWSA announce awards The following individuals are quarterly awards winners: 56th Fighter Wing Staff Agencies Airman: Senior Airman Leanne Mathews NCO: Staff Sgt. Natalie Nelson Senior NCO: Master Sgt. Deanna Commack Company gr...
 




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>