June 11, 2008 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Bulgaria's Defense Minister Nikolay Tsonev boarded a US Air Force F-16 fighter today for a 45 minute flight.
Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Tsonev (left) stands with Lt. Col. Jose Monteagudo, 482nd FW, before an incentive flight in USAF F-16D block 30 #86-0053 on June 11, 2008, at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria.
Tsonev visited the Graf Ignatievo air base in southern Bulgaria, where 10 US F-16 fighters are taking part in joint drills with the 15 MiG-21 and MiG-29 fighters of the Buglarian Air Force.
The fighter the Bulgarian Minister flew was piloted by officer Jose Monteagudo from 93rd "Makos
" Squadron of the US Air Force
The Bulgarian and US pilots are going to have their exercises in air combat under very realistic conditions. The first flights started on Monday and the drills wil last for two weeks.
At the end of last year, the 31st FW participated in Rodopi Javelin 2007, a three-week joint exercise at Graf Ignatevio AB, Bulgaria.