Air Force Begins Training F-35 Instructor Pilots In Aerial Refueling

Defense Daily // May 17, 2013

The Air Force this week began training an initial cadre of instructor pilots in F-35 aerial refueling at Eglin AFB, Fla., starting a process that will allow the service to eventually train other pilots at various bases across the country.

Air Force 50th Fighter Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Lee Kloos told Defense Daily Wednesday once experienced pilots like him are trained in F-35 aerial refueling, the Air Force will bring in pilots directly out of pilot training to train them in live refueling. Kloos said these pilots doing the initial training have experience flying F-15Es, F-16Cs, A-10s and F-16s.

After those pipeline students are trained in live F-35 aerial refueling, Kloos said they’ll return to their respective bases to qualify others in live refueling using simulators developed by Lockheed Martin. Kloos credited Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Full Motion Simulator for helping him easily re-acquaint with aerial fueling after a two-year break since he last performed a live aerial refueling.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. John Nimmo