Defense

March 22, 2013

First international student pilot flies F-35

United Kingdom Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Frankie Buchler became the first international student-pilot to fly a sortie in the F-35B Lightning II March 19, 2013 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The first international student aviator at the 33rd Fighter Wing training to be an F-35B Lightning II instructor pilot, completed his first sortie in the joint strike fighter at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., March 19.

United Kingdom Royal Air Force Sqdn. Ldr. Frankie Buchler flew with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501.

“There were no surprises, the jet was fun to fly and the flight went as expected,” Buchler said. “The ground school training package at the Academic Training Center with the flight simulators prepared me for smooth flying.”

The ATC is part of the F-35 Integrated Training Center hosted by the 33rd FW. It is the hub for U.S. and international partner operators and maintainers of the joint strike fighter.

“We couldn’t have picked a better spring day on the beautiful Emerald Coast to set another milestone for the F-35 program,” said Col. Andrew Toth, the 33rd FW commander. “Frankie and the entire team at Eglin (AFB) continue to make great strides in establishing the foundation of formal maintenance and pilot training for our services and partner nations.”

Marine Capt. Daniel Flately was Buchler’s instructor pilot who flew wingman in another F-35B during the late afternoon sortie.

Watching Buchler’s technique in the traffic pattern over the base was key along with him getting familiarized with the jet, he said.

“It was a clean flight … he’s a very experienced aviator who took to the F-35 naturally,” Flatley said.

United Kingdom Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Frankie Buchler became the first international student-pilot to fly a sortie in the F-35B Lightning II March 19, 2013 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

It takes 10 flight hours, or about six to seven sorties, for a student pilot transitioning from other aircraft to become a qualified F-35 pilot. Buchler’s last time flying was a year ago, coming from a background with the SEPECAT Jaguar and Eurofighter Typhoon.

Wing Commander Jon Millington, the senior U.K. officer at the 33rd FW, and a handful of British maintainers training within the Marine squadron were on the flightline to witness the historic event for both countries.

The U.K. team is fully integrated in the Marine unit and flying each other’s jets interchangeably according to the vision of VMFAT-501 commander, Lt. Col. David Berke. In the near future, Marine pilots can be trained by U.K. pilots.

Buchler is scheduled to complete his training sorties by early April and is excited about the way ahead for the joint strike fighter.

“The potential I see in this aircraft is all the sensors for information sharing. The F-35 has enormous potential and will be a great compliment to our Typhoons,” the U.K. pilot said.

His team is hopeful for the future when a team of 12 Royal Air Force and Navy maintainers and U.K. two pilots transition from Eglin AFB to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to perform operational testing on the jets in 2014.

United Kingdom Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Frankie Buchler became the first international student-pilot to fly a sortie in the F-35B Lightning II March 19, 2013 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. He received his F-35 Stovl patch after completing the flight.

“In 2018, the plan is for U.K.’s F-35 team to achieve initial operating capability in a land-based role and aboard the future HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in 2020.”

Until then, the British element will continue to grow their skills in learning to maintain and fly the Lightning II.

Their next milestones in the program include a third U.K. F-35B to be delivered to Eglin AFB this spring and the second British pilot’s first flight in two weeks.

 




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


 
 

 

Headlines January 28, 2015

News: Panel will propose new military retirement system - The long-awaited report on military compensation set to drop Thursday will propose fundamental changes to military retirement and health care benefits, according to several people familiar with the report. Source: DOD to request $585 billion for fiscal 2016 - The Department of Defense is preparing to submit a...
 
 

News Briefs January 28, 2015

Defense contractor to pay $2 million to settle claims A Northern California defense contractor will pay the federal government $2 million to settle claims about its manufacturing of parts for remote-controlled aircraft. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento says Sacramento-based Composite Engineering Inc. agreed to pay the money to end allegations that it artificially inflated...
 
 
Navy photograph

USS Roosevelt marks 200,000 trap

Navy photograph An F/A-18F Super Hornet flown by Capt. Daniel Grieco, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and Capt. Benjamin Hewlett, deputy commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, complet...
 

 
Navy photograph by PO1 William Larned

USS California returns from maiden deployment

Navy photograph by PO1 William Larned The Virginia-class attack submarine USS California (SSN 781) returns from its maiden deployment to its homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London. Under the command of Cmdr. Shawn Huey, Ca...
 
 
Army photograph

Army proves new watercraft capabilities

Army photograph Marine Corps assets are loaded onto the USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak (T-AK 3005), from an U.S. Army Landing Craft Utility, or LCU, USAV Port Hudson during port operations, at White Beach Naval Base, Jan. 22, 2015. Sold...
 
 

Orbital stockholders approve merger with ATK’s aerospace, defense groups

Orbital Sciences Corporation announced Jan. 27 that at a special meeting, the company’s stockholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the proposed merger with the Aerospace and Defense Groups of Alliant Techsystems Inc., pursuant to the definitive transaction agreement dated April 28, 2014. Approximately 99 percent of the votes cast at the special meeting voted in favor...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>