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 July 28, 2014

News: U.S. has lost track of weapons given to Afghanistan - The United States supplied almost three quarter of a million weapons to Afghanistan’s army and police since 2004, but the military cannot track where many of those arms have gone, a new report found. Bill to improve VA has $17 billion price tag - A bipartisan...
 
 

News Briefs July 28, 2014

Marines seek authorization for dolphin deaths The Marine Corps is asking for a five-year authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service for incidental deaths of bottlenose dolphins during training exercises at a bombing and target range. The Sun Journal of New Bern, N.C., reports that Connie Barclay of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 

 

Northrop Grumman awarded mission support services contract

The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, with a potential value of $205 million, to continue providing mission logistics services in support of combat brigades training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. The contract covers one base year and two one-year options. Support will include the full range of mission...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech image

NASA’s Mars spacecraft maneuvers to prepare for close comet flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 m...
 




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>