Edwards Test Pilot First to Reach 1,000 Flight Hours in Joint Strike Fighter
Lockheed Martin test pilot David "Doc" Nelson became the first pilot to achieve 1,000 flight hours in the F-35 during a test sortie Jan. 6.
He achieved the milestone during a 4.5-hour flight in AF-03, one of the 461st Flight Test Squadron’s Joint Strike Fighters used for developmental test and evaluation.
“It's an honor. At my age, to be flying the best attack airplane in the world, it's a privilege and I thank my lucky stars every day,” Nelson said.
A retired Air Force pilot, Nelson has been flying the F-35 since 2009. He's been an experimental test pilot since 1991 and is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards.
Members of the 461st FLTS and Lockheed Martin greeted Nelson as he deplaned and gave him a traditional spray down with water for his achievement. He was also presented with a plaque and special patch for his flight suit for achieving the milestone.