Lending a Helpful Wing

Four F-16s deployed from Luke AFB, Ariz., to provide continuity training to pilots at the F-35 schoolhouse at Eglin AFB, Fla., will stay on at least through next March, according to Luke officials. “Sorties generated for Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps aircrews are ensuring proficiency and airworthiness prior to each pilot’s first F-35 flight,” said Lt. Col. Michael Miles, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander at Eglin, in Luke’s July 20 release. “The F-16s from Luke perform critical flight safety chase aircraft duties locally and for ferry flights from the Lockheed Martin factory in Fort Worth, Tex.,” he added. Approximately 40 pilots and support personnel from Luke’s 56th Fighter Wing deployed to Eglin in January 2011. Since then, nearly 360 airmen have rotated through Eglin on 60- to 90-day temporary deployments. “Team Luke has exceeded all expectations. . . . They have advanced the entire F-35 program,” stated Miles. (Luke report by SrA. Melanie Holochwost)