F-16 Pilot Reaches 4,000 Flying Hours

Lt. Col. Douglas Schaare, an F-16 pilot from Shaw AFB, S.C., this month became just the 34th Viper pilot to amass 4,000 flying hours. “I never thought it would happen,” said Schaare, who is currently deployed to Joint Base Balad, Iraq, flying with the 55th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. He added, “I feel lucky that my career path has kept me flying the Viper this long.” Schaare is native of Orlando, Fla., and a 1988 Air Force Academy graduate. He reached the 4,000-hour mark during a close air support mission on Aug. 1. Schaare credits F-16 maintainers for their professionalism and skills. He also said he takes every hour in the cockpit seriously. “There are a lot of people outside the wire who may need our help,” he said. (Balad report by SrA. Mac Coleman-Foster)