In a Viper Cockpit for 166 Days

Col. David Lujan, deputy commander of the 56th Operations Group at Luke AFB, Ariz., on Dec. 22 became the 17th pilot to amass 4,000 flight hours in an F-16. “It’s pretty good company to be with,” said Lujan, a command pilot who’s been flying in F-16s since 1988. Four thousand flight hours is the equivalent of spending 166 straight days in the cockpit. Lujan said the F-16 is “a wonderful machine,” adding that, “She has always brought me home.” Of all of the hours he’s spent flying the fighter, those times spent supporting ground forces in combat are the ones he says he remembers the most. His first combat sortie was during Operation Desert Storm and he was back in Iraq this past August flying combat missions. (Luke report by 2nd Lt. Bryan Bouchard)