Given the Pentagon’s clearance to resume “restricted” flying of the F-35 after a three-week grounding, it will take “about a day and a half” for training flights to resume at Eglin AFB, Fla., base spokeswoman 1st Lt. Hope Cronin told Air Force Magazine. “We are waiting for official notification” that flights can resume from the three major commands that control the F-35A fleet, she said: Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Materiel Command, and Air Combat Command. The Navy will send its own notification for F-35B and C models, she added. Once notification comes, the day and a half delay in resuming flying will allow “maintenance spin up” and the necessary inspections to take place, Cronin noted. During the three-week F-35 grounding, student pilots—from all three services—have been “very busy” getting simulator time and taking classes in “tactics review and development, which is something we do here most people don’t know about,” she said. The simulator schedule has been “incredibly robust” during the grounding, and flying will resume in a “graduated” way once the order comes, Cronin noted.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.