Utah governor examines the F-35 from the pilot’s seat

 

By BRYAN MAGAÑA

 

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Gov. Gary Herbert had a chance to "fly" the F-35 Lightning II at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City Oct. 7.

During his time in the cockpit, the governor got a feel for the fifth-generation fighter, which arrived at Hill Air Force Base last month.

The university hosted the Lockheed Martin F-35 cockpit demonstrator last week to help celebrate arrival of the F-35 at Hill’s active-duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing. Representatives from Lockheed Martin, based in Fort Worth, Texas, guided Herbert through the flying simulator and explained some of the aircraft’s high-tech capabilities. Engineering students, faculty and the university dean also got to try their hands at the F-35.

Hill AFB will eventually be home to 72 of the Air Force’s newest fighter jets; it has already received three combat-coded aircraft. Reservists in the 419th FW are supporting their active-duty counterparts in reaching initial operational capability, or IOC, by late 2016.

Hill hosted an F-35 Lightning II unveiling ceremony at 10 a.m. Oct. 14 to formally commemorate the arrival of fighter jet to the base.

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