September 22, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The 43rd Fighter Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Florida which is responsible for providing air dominance training for the F-22 Raptor, reached the 5,000-flying-hour mark collectively on 20 September.
Tech. Sgt. Lewis Hale, marshals an F-22A Raptor, the new ground instructional trainer aircraft at the 43rd Fighter Squadron, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., on Wednesday, April 19, 2006. [U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Jon Quinlan]
Tyndall is the second base to achieve the 5,000-hour milestone with the Raptor. The Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB
, California, was the first. The first local sortie for the Raptor at Tyndall took place 31 October 2003.
The 43rd has increased its annual flying hours every year since. In fiscal year 2006, the 43rd F-22s spent 2,770 hours airborne for a fifty percent increase over FY05.
Since standing up as the only F-22 flying training squadron, the 43rd FS
has produced seventy-four F-22 pilots.
Last Juli, the first British pilot to complete F-22 Raptor training graduated at Tyndall. Flight Lt. Dan Robinson, from the Royal Air Force, completed two months of training with the 43rd as part of an exchange program. In return, an American fighter pilot will be trained and fly side-by-side with the RAF on the new EF-2000 Eurofighter Typhoon.