Defense

December 20, 2013

First Dutch F-35 pilot takes to skies

Maj. Laurens Vijge, a Royal Netherlands Air Force pilot, makes adjustments while in the seat of an F-35A Lightning II prior to his first flight in the aircraft Dec. 18 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Vijge became the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 Integrated Training Center training lead, completed his first flight after 210 hours of classroom training and 13 flights in the simulators.

The first Netherlands pilot took to the skies over Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 18, in the F-35A Lightning II, making the Netherlands the second partner country to operate the fifth-generation multirole fighter.

Maj. Laurens J.W. Vijge, the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 Integrated Training Center training lead, completed his first flight after 210 hours of classroom training and 13 flights in the simulators.

“The jet handles great and is very easy to fly – in fact, it’s actually easier to fly than the simulator,” Vijge said. “I could not have been better prepared than I was for this flight, and it’s all thanks to the hard work and dedication of people working in the F-35 Academic Training Center.”

The Netherlands currently has two aircraft stationed here where they will continue to train pilots for operational testing and evaluation of the aircraft starting 2015. The Netherlands’ aircraft and personnel are incorporated into the Air Force’s 58th Fighter Squadron at the 33rd Fighter Wing here.

“It was incredible; not only was my first flight in the first Dutch F-35, but I also got to fly this historic mission with Lt. Col. Matthew Renbarger (the 58th FS commander) as my wingman,” Vijge  said, who is an experienced F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot with more than 2,500 flying hours. “It was truly amazing to start this day knowing that a lot of people, both in the U.S. as well as back in the Netherlands, have worked very hard to make this possible.”

Maj. Laurens Vijge, a Royal Netherlands Air Force pilot, dresses in his life support equipment prior to his first flight in the F-35A Lightning II Dec. 18 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Vijge became the first RNLAF pilot to fly the joint strike fighter and the flight marks the first sortie for the RNLAF at Eglin AFB.

The F-35 is designed to penetrate air defenses and deliver a wide range of precision munitions. This modern, next-generation aircraft brings the added benefits of stealth, increased interoperability with our allies and cost-sharing across U.S. services and partner nations.

“This first flight marks the start of an essential training program our pilots require, and it is a great example of the solid partnership between the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the United States Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Albert J. De Smit, the Netherlands senior national representative for U.S. F-35 operations.

“The F-35 OT&E (Operational Test and Evaluation Center) will be a cooperative effort with the United States Services and the United Kingdom,” De Smit added. “This is another example of the cooperative nature of the F-35 program.”

The F-35 program completed approximately 7,400 flights and 11,600 hours to date. More than 3,200 flights and 4,250 hours of the F-35 program were completed at Eglin AFB’s F-35 integrated training center within the last two years.

The F-35 is a fifth-generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 for the Air Force, the F/A-18 for the Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 10 other countries.

Members of the Royal Netherlands Air Force watch as their F-35A Lightning II prepares to taxi out for its first flight Dec. 18 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Maj. Laurens Vijge became the first RNLAF pilot to fly the joint strike fighter and the flight marks the first sortie for the RNLAF at Eglin.




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


 
 

 

Headlines January 30, 2015

News: Taliban claims responsibility for attack on Americans at military base near airport - The Taliban claimed responsibility Jan. 30 for a shooting incident at a military base attached to Kabul’s international airport yesterday that killed three American civilian contractors and an Afghan national, saying the attacker had infiltrated the ranks of the security forces. Commission...
 
 

News Briefs January 30, 2015

Military judge weighs restrictions on Gitmo female guards A military judge is deciding whether to continue restricting the use of female guards at Guantanamo. Navy Capt. J. Kirk Waits heard closing arguments Jan. 29 at the base in Cuba during a pretrial hearing for Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi. Waits didn’t say when he will rule. Hadi...
 
 
Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Jake Bailey

Cope South experts exchange knowledge, techniques

Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Jake Bailey TSgt. Sam Bishop, center left, and SSgt. Jeffrey Stephens discuss propeller maintenance with Bangladesh air force maintainers, from the 101st Special Flying Unit, during exercise Cope...
 

 

Air Force names 2-star to lead F-35 Integration Office

With the initial operating capability date of the F-35 Lightning II quickly approaching, the Air Force appointed Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian as the director of a larger Air Force F-35 Integration Office, Feb. 1. In addition to gaining new leadership, the F-35 Integration Office will also grow from a staff of four to 12 and...
 
 
boeing-ana2

Boeing announces ANA’s commitment to more jetliners

Airline continues fleet modernization with Boeing airplanes Boeing and All Nippon Airways announced Jan. 30 the airline’s intent to purchase three 787-10 Dreamliners to add additional flexibility to the airline’s 787 fleet....
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

Air Force risks becoming too small to succeed under sequestration

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee Jan. 28, 2015, in Washington, D.C., as Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joesph F. Dunf...
 




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>