Raptors Returning from the Bayou

F-22 student pilots, instructors, and maintainers from the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall AFB, Fla., are scheduled to complete a nearly two-week training deployment to New Orleans on Thursday, Tyndall spokeswoman 2nd Lt. Andrea Valencia told the Daily Report. Some eight F-22s and 124 Tyndall personnel left on Aug. 17 for NAS JRB New Orleans, La., so that six student pilots could complete 40 items on their training syllabus and finish their training on time, according to a Tyndall release. Budget sequestration has made it harder for other fighter types that serve as adversarial aircraft in the student pilots’ advanced training drills to come to Tyndall. Thus, the wing has had “to develop different plans to accomplish” its mission, said Valencia. In this case, it meant going where other aircraft are located. Among the aircraft the F-22 student pilots have had the opportunity to fly with are Louisiana Air National Guard F-15s from New Orleans and Navy F/A-18s. Prior to this deployment, Tyndall has sent its F-22s to other bases for “this type of training,” said Valencia. (Tyndall report by Maj. John Deloney)