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8/16/2013 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Sailors from U.S. Navy F-35 Strike Fighter Squadron-101 made history completing the first local flight in the F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Aug. 14...The F-35C, piloted by Lt. Cdr. Christopher Tabert, took off from Eglin shortly after 9 a.m. for about an hour flight...Satisfied with the maintenance verification sortie, Tabert stated "the flight went great, the weather was gorgeous, the jet performed well, we couldn't have asked for anything better."
The Navy's first F-35 pilot training course here concluded in January, and the second course began June 4. Currently, there are seven Navy pilots training at the F-35 Integrated Training Center located at Eglin's 33rd Fighter Wing. The goal is to have four or five pilots qualified in the F-35C by the end of 2013, according to Enfield.