HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Col. David Castaneda, 419th Fighter Wing pilot, took his final flight in the F-16 Fighting Falcon here April 2. Family and co-workers gathered on Hill’s flightline to congratulate Castaneda on his achievement during the wing’s drill weekend.
The newly promoted colonel leaves this month to learn to fly the Air Force’s newest fighter jet, the F-35 Lightning II. Castaneda will join a handful of 419th pilots who have already transitioned to the F-35A.
The 419th and its active duty associate, the 388th Fighter Wing, received the Air Force’s first operational F-35s in September 2015. Active-duty and Reserve personnel at Hill are flying and maintaining a growing fleet of aircraft in their goal to reach initial operational capability, or IOC, later this year.
Hill’s fighter wings also continue to fly the F-16 and currently have pilots and maintainers deployed to Afghanistan.