Up in the air: F-35 training program remains strong despite reduction in aircraft
By Kelly Humphrey
April 23, 2016
While the Marine Corps originally trained its pilots at Eglin, last year the branch relocated its school to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, and took its F-35B’s with them. Going forward, F-35B pilots from the United Kingdom will also train at Beaufort.
That leaves less than 50 F-35s at the Eglin training facility.
While that reduction has caused some observers to wonder if the training program is in jeopardy, Okaloosa County Commissioner Wayne Harris isn’t worried.
“There are a lot of reasons that the reduction in planes has happened, and those are mostly due to fiscal constraints,” Harris said.
“The F-35 is a great plane, but it’s very expensive, and they’re still working on getting some of the bugs out of it,” he said. “I believe the training program at Eglin is very secure — the government has too much invested in it. I’m confident it will stay up and running.”
Whether the Navy will continue to train pilots at Eglin is still up for debate, however.[FULL ARTICLE]