JBER, Alaska --- A Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson pilot reached 1,000 flying hours in an F-22 Raptor, at JBER, Alaska, June 22, 2016.
Air Force Lt. Col. Brandon Tellez, 525th Fighter Squadron commander and F-22 pilot, departed for his milestone flight at approximately 9:09 a.m. – and landed at 10:30 a.m.
Tellez has been a fighter pilot for 15 years, however, the achievement comes after nine years flying the F-22 (Emphasis added—Ed.), he said.
Tellez is the 23rd pilot to reach 1,000 flying hours in a Raptor, said John Newsom, 3rd Wing F-22 contract site manager.
If taken consecutively, Tellez would have spent more than 41 and-a-half days in the aircraft.
Completing 1,000 hours in a fighter jet is significant because it takes so long, Tellez said. Sorties in the fighter are typically one-to-two hours.
The sky was Air Force blue; an appropriate backdrop as the day’s events unfolded.
Tellez’s countenance was of a person overjoyed – having realized an achievement few others have been able to do.
“It’s a tremendous day to fly in Alaska,” Tellez said, after exiting his aircraft. Tellez also recognized maintenance crews and others who have helped him reach this milestone.
“It marks a tremendous amount of effort to put me in this position,” Tellez said. “The opportunity to fly this jet as long as I have is a tremendous honor. It is a privilege every single day and a testament to all the hard work our maintenance puts in to give me the opportunity.”
Tellez was greeted by friends, coworkers, and the 525th FS mascot, following his flight.
A plaque and patch, only given to pilots who reach the 1,000-hour milestone, was presented in the 525th FS heritage room by representatives from Boeing and Lockheed-Martin.
“You’re never wrong to put yourself in a position where you have opportunity,” Tellez said, reflecting on the day’s accomplishment. “... It’s interesting to think, in the 1,000 hours I have put in the cockpit, there have been upwards of 10,000 [hours] of hard work [by others] to put that cockpit around me.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: According to this US Air Force story, Lt Col Tellez took nine years to log 1,000 flight hours on the F-22, which implies he flew an average of 111 hours a year.
This less than two-thirds of the NATO target of 180 hours a year for fast jet pilots, and equates to a shortfall of 621 flight hours – or almost 39% -- over nine years.
To use the same example used by the air force, Tellez should have spent 67.5 consecutive days in his cockpit to meet the NATO target, instead of 41.5 days.
Given that F-22 sorties “are typically one-to-two hours,” the 111 hours per year equate to 74 sorties per year, or six sorties per month – one every 5 days.
Admittedly, nothing in the above story suggests that every F-22 pilot flies as few hours as Tellez has, but nothing suggests otherwise, either, and as squadron commander Tellez should be among his unit’s most experienced pilots.
The obvious conclusion is that either the NATO target is unnecessarily high, or that F-22 pilots do no fly enough to maintain combat readiness.)