USAF F-35A, A-10 demo teams show aircraft capabilities to student pilots

USAF F35 A10 Demo Team
A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-35 Lightning II fly side by side together through the sky over Laughlin AFB. The pilots flew over the base to show the capabilities of the jets to student pilots.

The A-10 Demonstration team from Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, and the F-35 Demonstration team from Hill AFB, Utah, are touring the Air Force’s Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training bases to demonstrate their aircraft and to brief students in training on their capabilities.

“This is something we’ve been wanting to do for the students and instructors for a while,” said Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander. “We saw this as a good opportunity to not only educate the students on the capabilities of the F-35, but as importantly, have some younger pilots talk to them about the career they can expect if they are able to take the fighter track.”

Capt. Kristin Wolfe, F-35A demonstration team pilot, a Laughlin graduate of SUPT class 12-15, says she values the opportunity to visit students in pilot training.

“We hope this was an exciting, encouraging experience for all of the students,” said Wolfe. “Sometimes in [undergraduate pilot training,] it was difficult to determine what the actual day-in-a-life is like for pilots of the various aircraft communities. Our goal is to provide a fighter pilot perspective while also giving an overview of the jet’s capabilities to motivate future Air Force pilots.”

Second Lt. Steven Fleming, 47th Student Squadron student pilot, always wanted to be in the military, and found his home in the 159th Fighter Squadron, Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida. Currently, he’s undergoing pilot training here and is set to fly fighters.

“The F-35’s and A-10’s that came to Laughlin gave me extra motivation,” Fleming said. “It reminded me I won’t always be here as a student, and seeing their performance gave me a tangible goal to keep working toward.”

Source: 47th Flying Training Wing PA
Image: USAF/Airman 1st Class David Phaff

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