F-35’s First B-Course Takes Flight

Luke AFB // February 08, 2017

The Air Force’s first F-35 Lightning II basic flight course class took to the skies for the first time as they entered the live flying portion of their training Feb. 8, 2017.

The B-course students, training under the tutelage of the experienced instructor pilots of the 61st Fighter Squadron, will become the first purely operational combat F-35 pilots in the Air Force.

USAF photo

“It was just an incredible feeling accelerating away from the runway for the first time,” said a student. “I hope to always be able to look back at this day and recognize just how incredible it was.”

After approximately two months of classroom academic instruction, the student pilots are now in the flightline phase of their training syllabus, where over the course of the next 6 months they will learn the skills necessary to perform basic air-to-air, air-to-ground, and low-visibility combat flying.

“Right now they’re learning how to take off, how to land, and how to fly by instruments so that they’re able to get back to ground safely in inclement weather,” said Maj. Joshua Larsen, 56th Fighter Wing executive officer and instructor pilot. “After that, they progress into mission sets, in which they will learn both basic fighter maneuvers and advanced combat maneuvers, and build off of those things to learn how to perform complex missions.”

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