Japanese Air Self-Defense Force maintainers pose for a photo during the arrival of the first Japanese F-35A at Luke Air Force Base Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.)
Luke Air Force Base, Arizona – The F-35 program hit another milestone Nov. 28, 2016, with the arrival of the first Foreign Military Sales (FMS) F-35 at Luke Air Force Base.
In the next step for the international F-35 training program, Japan took ownership of the first FMS aircraft to arrive at Luke.
“Today is a great day for the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, Luke AFB, the 944th Fighter Wing, and the Japanese Air Self-Defense forces,” said Col. Kurt J. Gallegos, 944 FW commander. “We have a great team of airmen who have worked hard to set up an outstanding training program and are ready to train our FMS counterparts.”
The aircraft was welcomed by a joint delegation from the 944 FW, 56th Fighter Wing, Lockheed Martin, and Japanese staff.
“Today I am thrilled for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Team Luke,” said Lt. Col. Sean Holahan, 944th Operations Group Detachment 2 commander. “The arrival of Japan’s first F-35A marks another important milestone in the steadfast relationship between our two nations, and the beginning of training for an elite cadre of JASDF fighter pilots and maintainers. We put an incredible amount of thought and effort into building the world’s first F-35 Foreign Military Sales training program from the ground up. To see Japan’s first jet on our flight line, surrounded by the men and women who have made this mission possible, is humbling.”
The arrival of the first FMS aircraft is the culmination of years of planning and hard work.
“The jet arrival marks the beginning of a new and exciting mission at Luke AFB to train our allies to fly the F-35A,” explained Lt. Col. Joe Bemis, 944 OG Det. 2 executive officer and resource advisor. “We have been preparing for this program for years. We have remodeled buildings, built a huge team of professional pilots, maintainers, and administration staff, and created specialized syllabus.
We are hopeful that this mission will strengthen relationships between the U.S. and nations that participate in the training.”
During the next several years, Luke AFB will be training FMS pilots from Japan, Israel, and South Korea along with partner nations including Australia, Italy, Norway, Turkey, Netherlands, Denmark, and Canada.
“This is such an important time in our wing’s history as we pick up the mission to train all FMS F-35 pilots,” said Gallegos. “It’s been almost 10 years since our wing has seen aircraft on our flight line. It is an amazing feeling to look outside and see the F-35s out there and know that we are playing such an important and critical role as we build relationships that will enhance our future partnership.”
In addition to the Foreign Military Sales mission led by the 944 OG/Det 2 Ninjas, Luke is scheduled to have six fighter squadrons and 144 F-35s.
Source: U.S. Air Force 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
This new address will enable Averna to better showcase its state-of-the-art solutions and expertise to clients, as well as providing additional manufacturing and integration space, while providing security and confidentiality for work in progress or factory acceptance testing.
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The crew in the cockpit on board this flight comprised: Hugues van der Stichel, Experimental Test Pilot; Frank Chapman, Experimental Test Pilot and Gérard Maisonneuve, Test-Flight Engineer. Monitoring the test parameters at the Flight-Test-Instrumentation (FTI) station behind the cockpit were: Patrick du Ché, Head of Flight & Integration Tests; Emanuele Costanzo, Head of A350 Development Flight Tests; and Stéphane Vaux, Flight-Test Engineer.
Powered by Rolls-Royce’s new Trent XWB-97 engines, the aircraft traversed south-western France, during which the crew explored the aircraft’s handling and flight envelope. The aircraft was accompanied by a chase plane to observe and film the various maneuvers. Its progress was monitored by experts on the ground in real-time via a direct telemetry link.
Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier said: “We have seen today the world’s most modern and efficient passenger aircraft – the A350-1000 – in action for the very first time, adding soon to the successful A350 family. My congratulations and thanks go to all the teams who have contributed to make today’s flight happen.”
Many customers witnessed the flight from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse.
Benefiting from the experience of the original A350-900 test campaign (accomplished in 2014), the A350-1000’s development program will be shorter – less than one year for the three aircraft. MSN059’s duties for performance testing will include exploration of the flight envelope, handling qualities, loads and braking. The second aircraft to fly, MSN071, will also be tasked with performance evaluation, which will encompass braking, powerplant, systems, and autopilot. The third and final aircraft to fly – MSN065 – will be equipped with a cabin and will evaluate the cabin and air systems. MSN065 will also perform the early long flights and route-proving. The overall campaign will culminate in the type’s certification followed by its entry into airline service in the second half of 2017 with first operator Qatar Airways – the largest A350-1000 customer to date with 37 on order.
Having a longer fuselage to accommodate 40 more passengers than the A350-900, the A350-1000 also features a modified wing trailing-edge, new six-wheel main landing gear, and more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines. The A350-1000 embodies all of the fuel efficiency and Airspace cabin comfort of the original A350-900 – but with extra size for long-haul routes. To date, 11 customers from five continents have placed orders for a total of 195 A350-1000s.