Lt. Col. Eric Smith is the first Air Force pilot certified to fly the F-35 strike fighter. He’s also USAF’s first F-35 instructor pilot. The former A-10 and F-16 test pilot is now assigned to Eglin AFB, Fla., where he is operations director for the 58th Fighter Squadron, a component of the 33rd Fighter Wing that oversees the joint F-35 schoolhouse there. In this role, Smith will oversee flight operations for the initial F-35 pilot cadre. “I’m extremely thrilled to be honored as the first Air Education and Training Command F-35 instructor pilot,” he said. “It means a lot to me, but more for the 33rd FW [that] can now execute the training plan they have been working on for two years. We have a great team and will soon begin training F-35 pilots and maintainers.” F-35 student pilots will receive about 200 hours of academics, conduct 14 simulator missions, a high-speed taxi test, and six flights in the airplane before they are qualified to fly. (Eglin report by Chrissy Cuttita)
May 5, 2021
The Skyborg software and hardware suite allowing unmanned aircraft to team with crewed ones flew for the first time April 29, the Air Force said, launching a series of experiments meant to prove the safety and effectiveness of the approach.
The Department of the Air Force wants to know if you can hack its satellites. Registration for the second Space Security Challenge: Hack-A-Sat opened May 4, with the qualification event slated to run June 26-27. The top eight teams will move on to the next round, where they will compete…