GREENVILLE, S.C. --- Lockheed Martin test pilot Mark "Red" Ward reached a new milestone by becoming the first pilot to reach 100 flight hours in the T-50A, the company's offering for the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Pilot Training (APT) competition.
"This has been a great opportunity to be involved in a project that is so important to the U.S. Air Force and the foundation for pilot training," Ward said. "It's a great plane to fly and will make an excellent trainer for generations of pilots to come."
Ward passed the 100-hour mark shortly after take-off from Greenville on the way to the 2017 Joint Base San Antonio Air Show and Open House at JBSA-Lackland Kelly Field Annex in Texas, which took place Nov. 4-5.
In February 2016, Lockheed Martin announced its plans to offer the T-50A in the APT competition and build the aircraft at a final assembly and checkout (FACO) facility in Greenville. The FACO and operations center formally opened in August 2016.
Flight operations began at the Greenville site in November 2016 as the team worked toward a March 2017 proposal deadline and submission of the required flight test data at the end of June.
The T-50A is ready on day one of contract award and is purpose-built around 5th Generation thinking. It will train the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II pilots of tomorrow, as well as pilots for frontline 4th Generation aircraft. The T-50A builds upon the proven heritage of the T-50 family of aircraft with more than 150 T-50s flying today – 150,000 flight hours and counting – and more than 2,000 pilots who have trained in this aircraft.
Lockheed Martin's accompanying T-50A Ground-Based Training System features innovative technologies that deliver an immersive, synchronized ground-based training platform. GBTS is integrated with the aircraft providing Live, Virtual, Constructive (LVC) training capability today.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.