F-35 Training Progresses on the Ground and in the Air

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Recently celebrating the first flight of the F-35B Lightning II at Eglin Air Force Base May 22, the integrated Joint Strike Fighter training team at the 33rd Fighter Wing is also conducting the first formal maintenance coursework at the F-35 Integrated Training Center on station.

The wing will train pilots and maintainers for all three variants of the aircraft. Approximately 100 maintenance students from three branches of service began the inaugural classes March 19.

"It's another milestone in what we are calling our execution year," said Col. Andrew Toth, 33rd FW commander. "Adding more aircraft to the fleet, filling up the flying schedule with two aircraft variants and certification classes ongoing at our F-35 Academic Training Center are testimonies of our wing's success in standing up our nation's Joint Strike Fighter training for future generations."

The F-35 Academic Training Center houses advanced classrooms, flight simulators, maintenance training devices, computer-based training laboratories and a Training Systems Support Center.

Training courseware is built using a flexible modular design, making it possible to train pilots and maintainers from three different services and eight international partners on three F-35 variants without creating multiple training suites of variant-specific hardware and software. This total training solution immerses trainees in the virtual experience before moving to the real thing.

"When training is in full swing, approximately 2,100 maintainers and 100 pilot students can be processed through the ATC annually, with 900 people at any given time on campus," Toth said

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