Col. Lenny Dick became only the fourth F-16 pilot to reach 5,000 flight hours in the Viper. He reached the milestone on Monday during a sortie over the Arizona Desert to test an F-16 software upgrade. He is vice commander of the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center in Tucson, Ariz. Dick began flying the F-16 in 1984. Among his flight hours are more than 300 amassed in combat during more than 12 deployments since 1991 supporting operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Iraq. “For me it’s not so much about flying itself. It’s about being part of a team, planning difficult missions, and executing them with my wingmen,” said Dick when commenting on his achievement, which equates to nearly seven months in the cockpit. Interestingly, his airplane on Monday’s milestone sortie also has more than 5,000 flight hours. (Tucson release by Maj. Gabe Johnson)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.