F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Luke pilot breaks 4,000 flying hours

September 23, 2009 (by SrA Tong Duong) - Over the skies of the Barry M. Goldwater Range, one Luke F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot recently reached a milestone that few pilots can claim.

Lt. Col. Greg Lukasiewicz, 62nd FS assistant director of operations and 944th FW, 301st FS reservist pilot, broke 4,000 F-16 flying hours after 20 years of piloting the F-16 jet. [USAF photo by SrA. Tong Duong]

Lt. Col. Greg Lukasiewicz, 62nd Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations and 944th Fighter Wing, 301st Fighter Squadron Reservist pilot, broke 4,000 F-16 flying hours after 20 years of piloting the F-16 jet, making him the 26th F-16 pilot to amass the equivalent of more than 166 days in the cockpit.

For Colonel Lukasiewicz, it is just another notch on his belt.

"Our flight commanders keep a log of our flying hours and track individual pilots' flight hours," he said. "I was reminded a couple of weeks ago that I was getting close. I've been fortunate to have flown the F-16 Viper for 20 years. It was just a matter of time."

Upon being selected for the U.S. Air Force Academy, the South Hadley, Mass., native wasn't sure he wanted to be a pilot, but after trying a sail plane and soaring as well as the Cessna program, he became interested in pilot training. He had no airframe preference as long as it was a fighter.

Colonel Lukasiewicz started F-16 training at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., with a follow- on assignment to Moody AFB, Ga. From there he bounced to Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Pope AFB, N.C., Cannon AFB, N.M., and finally landed at the 62nd FS culminating 14 years of active-duty flying.

When the 301st FS opened up that year, wanting to settle his family, wife, Christine; daughters, Nicole, 8, and Savannah, 5, in the valley, Colonel Lukasiewicz put in for and was accepted to fly full-time as a Reservist with the 308th, 309th Fighter Squadron and now back with the Spikes.

In the 20 years of pilot service, he has participated in many training exercises and real- world engagements.

"From 1994 to 1999, I did four 90-day tours during Operation Southern Watch," he said. "I've also flown some great training missions, from dropping live munitions during exercise sorties in Thailand to participating in large-force engagement exercises during Red and Green flag."

Colonel Lukasiewicz is grateful for two decades of flying different blocks of F-16 jets.

"I've flown Blocks 25, 30, 40, 42 and some 52s that I've delivered to foreign military sales such as Greece and Egypt," he said.

Courtesy of 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Additional images:

F-16 Fighting Falcon - 4000 Flight Hours patch [Asif Shamim Collection]