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 August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India¬†– French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year¬†– In line with the Pentagon’s...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 
LM-MUOS

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 




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>