An Aussie in a Raptor’s Nest

Royal Australian Air Force Flt. Lt. Mark Biele is an F-22 instructor pilot on exchange with the 90th Fighter Squadron at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. He’s only the second Australian exchange pilot to fly the F-22, according to a base release. “The exchange is important to emphasize the level of trust and commitment between our two countries,” said Maj. Christopher Lazidis, 90th FS weapons director. “It demonstrates how deep the partnership between the US and Australia is—not just that we have an Australian F-22 pilot, but an Australian that will train, deploy, and fight fully integrated within our squadron,” he added. Biele converted from the F/A-18 Hornet to the F-22 at Tyndall AFB, Fla., before joining the 90th FS. Biele will likely aid the RAAF in standing up Australia’s F-35 program after his three-year exchange stint wraps up in two years’ time, states the Aug. 9 release. (Elmendorf report by David Bedard)