Raptor Instructors’ Record Day

F-22 instructor pilots at Tyndall AFB, Fla., flew 53 local Raptor sorties in a single-day surge to retain their currency and, in the process, set a 43rd Fighter Squadron record, according to base officials. “We more than doubled the normal amount of flights, which averages from 18 to 24 per day,” said Lt. Col. James Akers, 43rd FS operations officer, of the unit’s historic accomplishment on Sept. 24. The squadron launched 30 morning sorties; after the jets returned, ground crews refueled them with engines running for the remaining sorties, which occurred in the afternoon, states Tyndall’s Sept. 25 release. The F-22 schoolhouse “did not have any students fly” for the day,” said Akers. “It was strictly a day set aside for instructors to obtain flying hours” to recertify before the end of the fiscal year, he explained. The previous Air Force-wide F-22 squadron record was 46 sorties in a day, noted Akers. “If that’s true, we smashed it,” he said. (Tyndall report by SSgt. Kirsten Wicker)