|Buchler in F-35. Air Force photo|
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The first international student aviator at the 33rd Fighter Wing training to be an F-35B instructor pilot completed his first sortie in the joint strike fighter March 19. United Kingdom Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Frankie Buchler flew with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501. "The ground school training package at the Academic Training Center with the flight simulators prepared me for smooth flying," said Buchler. The ATC is part of the F-35 Integrated Training Center hosted by the 33rd FW. It is the hub for U.S. and international partner operators and maintainers of the joint strike fighter. It takes 10 flight hours, or about six to seven sorties, for a student pilot transitioning from other aircraft to become a qualified F-35 pilot. Buchler's last time flying was a year ago, coming from a background with the SEPECAT Jaguar and Eurofighter Typhoon. (Source: 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
, 03/21/13) Eglin is where students, pilots and maintainers, from all branches of service and allied pilots will train.