F-35 pilot training reaches new stage at Luke Air Force Base

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Training of pilots to fly the Air Force's new F-35 fighter has reached a new stage at Luke Air Force Base.

Base officials say the 59th Fighter Wing's commander this week flew the wing's first training sortie flown by a student learning to fly the F-35.

That takes the F-35 training program at Luke a step beyond the flights previously flown only by test pilots and instructors.

The first full class of students learning to fly the F-35 is scheduled to begin May 4.

Luke got its first F-35 in March 2014.