December 12, 2011 (by SSgt. Jason Colbert) - A Luke pilot reached a feat that fewer than 200 other F-16 pilots have accomplished throughout their careers.
Maj. Elton Davis, 308 FS director of staff, prepares to exit his aircraft after crossing his 3,000 flying hour mark in an F-16 on November 21st, 2011 at Luke AFB. [USAF photo by SSgt. Jason Colbert]
Maj. Elton Davis, 308th Fighter Squadron director of staff, reached his 3,000th F-16 flying hour Nov. 21 when he taxied from the runway onto the 308th ramp.
"This was a milestone for me," he said. "It is a rare achievement. I have flown my entire career, which is not something many pilots can say."
Reaching this landmark didn't come easy. In fact, it takes an average of eight hours, from mission preparation through post-mission grade sheet completion, to fly a 75-minute sortie. Some missions, depending on complexity, can take more time.
Davis developed a love for flying at a young age.
He lived near an airport and watched planes take off and land, building his desire to fly. He received his private pilot's license in 1983. Seven years later, he began to fly for the Air Force.
Davis began his military pilot training in 1990 flying the T-37 aircraft at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. After completing his training, he went to MacDill AFB
, Fla., to train in the F-16. From there he went to his first operational base, Homestead AFB, Fla.
Davis began his career as an active-duty officer. He later joined the Air National Guard. The flying portion is the same as an active-duty pilot, but Guardsmen have to maintain the same level of skill while maintaining civilian employment. After the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, he returned to active-duty status once again.
Davis has reached a goal rarely achieved by F-16 pilots. But he knows that he did not get there without help from Airmen on the ground.
"In all the years, I've never had a major malfunction," he said. "I give all the credit to the maintenance guys who keep the jets going."