Fit for Flight: 1,000 Strong

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Fit for Flight: 1,000 Strong

On May 22, the Pilot Fit Facility (PFF) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, outfitted its 1,000th F-35 pilot – Japanese Air Self-Defense Force pilot, Capt. Ryosuke Sugimoto.  

Leadership from the 33rd Fighter Wing, Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin were in attendance to celebrate the occasion. Sugimoto received a JPO coin for his part in this milestone fitting.  

What’s being said 

"First, I would like to congratulate the team on this accomplishment,” said Sugimoto. “I am lucky to be the 1,000th person and experience being fitted for the pilot flight equipment on a conventional aircraft. I can't wait for the completion of my first flight.”

“Reaching 1,000 fittings here highlights both the continued growth of the F-35 program around the world, and the central role that Eglin AFB and the 33rd Fighter Wing have played in that growth,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jordan Grant, 33rd Fighter Wing deputy commander. “Each time we fit out an F-35 pilot, we are adding to the strength and security of the United States and our long list of partners and allies.”

Details of the fit 

The Eglin Air Force Base PFF was opened in 2010 and was the first facility to outfit F-35 pilots. There are four similar facilities in the United States. Together, the five facilities outfit both domestic and international F-35 pilots by following a meticulous process – ensuring a perfect fit for each pilot: 

  • Two-day process
  • Six hours of fitting 
  • 15 measurements taken for below-the-neck equipment 
  • One-on-one treatment for every pilot