So what did you guess? 100? 250? How many trained F-35 pilots do you think there are?

Answer: 500!

Congratulations to Major Chris Campbell, a former F-16 test pilot who recently became the 500th trained F-35 pilot!

“As a test pilot, working on the F-35 is an opportunity for me to be a real force-multiplier,” Campbell said. “Flying the F-35 has been a long-term goal of mine. I am thrilled to be part of the program and I hope to make a positive impact.”

While training as an F-35A student pilot at Eglin Air Force Base, Campbell completed approximately 200 hours of academics, 14 simulators, a high-speed taxi, and six flights in the aircraft before being deemed qualified.

The coursework takes full advantage of emerging technology by leveraging virtual reality training for pilots to compliment the military’s most advanced weapon system.

“As we discover new ways to employ the F-35 based on its expanding capabilities, we have to adapt the way we train our pilots to ensure they meet the needs of our combat air forces,” said Col. Paul D. Moga, 33rd Fighter Wing commander. “The world of fifth-gen tactics is rapidly evolving. It is changing the way we think, train and execute as a joint and multi-national force.” – Air Education and Training Command

Featured image of a U.S. Air Force F-35 student pilot climbing into an F-35 Lighting II at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz by US Air Force Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham

Maj. Chris Campbell, 461st Flight Test Squadron director of operations, is an F-16 test pilot