High Hopes for F-35 Training at Eglin

The Air Force is working to address concerns raised by Michael Gilmore, director of Operational Test and Evaluation, regarding the proper time to begin F-35 flight training at Eglin AFB, Fla., senior leaders told members of the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces panel this week. Lt. Gen. Hawk Carlisle, USAF’s Deputy Chief of Staff for operations, plans, and requirements, said he is hopeful that a “military flight” can be conducted “at some point in the not-too-distance future” at Eglin. He said the Air Force has presented additional information to Gilmore since he wrote his memo in late October to the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, outlining what he perceived to be “serious concerns.” Carlisle said, “We have a very diligent and deliberate process to do military flight release and airworthiness certificates,” though he acknowledged that process has not yet been completed. “Again, it is event driven and we are going through that process very deliberately, and we are addressing all of Dr. Gilmore’s concerns.”