Morale is high at Egline Airforce Base after pilots began tactical training in the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on Jan 31. Col Andy Toth, who was present during the first four ship formation that morning, says that “It went well.”
This success was a sign that the aircraft mechanics on base are learning how to operate the jet themselves without help from Lockheed Martin.
“We are learning the ins and outs of the aircraft and showing we can handle the maintenance on our own,” says Senior Master Sgt. Eric Wheeler, a production superintendent at the maintenance unit.
Although pilots at Eglin can’t offer much because of the tight restrictions surrounding the aircraft, Toth was able to say that “During takeoff, the acceleration is impressive” but that “you could over-speed the gear very quickly.”