On Friday, June 15, 2012, members of YP@TB visited Eglin Air Force Base where they were given a tour of the F-35 Training Facility, Operations Building, and of course got to see the F-35 up close and personal (except no touching -- classified information).
The first F-35 landed at Eglin Air Force Base carrying members of the 33rd Fighter Wing on July 14, 2011. Currently, Eglin houses six F-35s, but an expected 59 will be arriving over the next few years.
The Joint Strike Fighter is the country’s first fifth-generation, multi-role fighter equipped with the latest technology. Multiple configurations are being built to suit combat missions of three different branches of the American military as well as allies participating in the F-35 project.
Many locals don't realize that the nation's premiere strike fighter calls Northwest Florida it's home, but YP@TB members learned quickly of the reality that Eglin houses a jet that will ensure air dominance for the US for the next 30 years.
Not only did YP@TB members get to see the actual jet, they were taken behind the scenes to see where pilots get briefed pre-flight, schedules are made, training is executed and even had the pleasure of meeting a few of the F-35 crew members. Just learning about what it takes to prepare one pilot for one flight is exhausting... no one could imagine preparing many pilots at one time.
At the end of the tour, everyone was amazed at the elite programs happening at Eglin Air Force Base. Although no one got to wear the pilot helmet or jump in the driver's seat, everyone was thankful to be educated on the premiere happenings that are basically in our back yard.
Click HERE to see more pictures from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Tour