F-16 Training Starts at Holloman

The 54th Fighter Group has begun training new F-16 pilots at Holloman AFB, N.M., reports the Alamogordo News. The first five student pilots took to the skies for the first time in the F-16 on Nov. 13, followed by two more students on the next day, Lt. Col Scott Fredrick, 311th Fighter Squadron commander, told the newspaper. “This is the culmination of four years of planning and preparation,” said Lt. Col. Marshall Chalverus, an F16 instructor pilot and commander of the 54th Operations Support Squadron. The Air Force announced in July 2010 that Holloman would lose its combat-coded F-22s as part of the F-22 fleet’s consolidation. In return, the New Mexico base would host an F-16 training schoolhouse. Holloman’s first F-16s arrived in April. The base is slated to receive a total of 55 F-16s by October 2015. Fredrick said Holloman currently has 14 F-16 student pilots. It will take them six to eight months to complete their schoolhouse training, according to the newspaper.