Luke’s Lightning School Hits the Books

The F-35 schoolhouse at Luke AFB, Ariz., began training its first formal class of student pilots earlier this month, officials announced. “The pilots going through the training right now are going to be staying here at Luke to be instructors,” said 56th Training Squadron Operations Director Lt. Col. Matt Hayden, in a May 18 release. “When they graduate they may very well turn around in a matter of days to instructing students in what they just learned,” he added. The four pilots—two A-10 and two F-16 pilots—are already rated instructor pilots and were competitively selected for the F-35 course, which began May 4, according to the release. Luke’s 56th Fighter Wing commander flew the first F-35A training sortie at the base back in March, ahead of the first training class. Luke will eventually host a total of 144 US and allied strike fighters.