F-35 training flights begin at Luke AFB

The first student flew the first training sortie for the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base.

He's Brigadier General Scott Pleus, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing in an F-35, the high-tech successor to the venerable F-16.

Soon, BGen. Pleus will begin training other pilots at the base's brand-new academic training center.

"We're not just training United States Air Force, but the world's F-35 pilots; Australia, Turkey, Italy, Canada, and Denmark training right here at Luke.," said Brigadier General Scott Pleus.

The Lockheed F-35 is like a flying computer, everything on it is totally high-tech, and it is not cheap, each one costs $130 million.

The warplane is outfitted with stealth technology and can fly up to 900 miles per hour. It's a major advance from the F-16's that have been a minstay at Luke for decades.

"It is unbelievable how quick this airplane accelerates, and how quick is its manueverability are two big differences between the two," he said.

For Luke AFB the arrival of the F-35 marks a new chapter in its long history of training fighter pilots.

"The coolest thing about the F-35 is this is the backbone of the entire USAF fleet of the future, and the fact we get to train the world's fighter pilots is pretty cool," said Pleus.

For more information on the F-35A visit: http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/224/Article/478441/f-35a-lightning-ii-conventional-takeoff-and-landing-variant.aspx
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