News

Eglin F-35 Fleet Exceeds 2K Sorties, Training Presses on

Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. // August 15, 2013

Airmen and Marines assigned to the F-35 Integrated Training Center at the 33rd Fighter Wing here have consistently flown successful training sorties and generated their 2,000th sortie Aug. 13 with an instructor pilot of the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501 (VMFAT-501), at the controls.

Photo by Maj. Karen Roganov

Marine Maj. Adam Levine, who flew in a two-ship formation, said he was surprised with the news upon landing but said that is typical since the flightline members are focusing on safe and effective flying rather than keeping pace with data tracked by those in statistical analysis.

“Every sortie, every takeoff, every hour is a win for the F-35 enterprise,” he said. From his cockpit, Levine also witnessed the first taxi of the U.S. Navy’s F-35C carrier variant preparing for its maiden flight from Eglin AFB.

With the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy pressing forward to meet goals of initial operating capability in the next few years for their respective services, getting ample time in the air is crucial to meeting their timelines.

“Flying the 2,000th sortie highlights the accomplishments of the entire F-35 airpower team at Eglin AFB and moves us one step closer to the aircraft’s initial war fighting capability,” said Col. Todd Canterbury, the commander of the 33rd FW.

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