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F-35 touches down for the first time in South America

March 30, 2018

Two F-35 Lightning II’s assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing have landed in South America for the 2018 Feria Internacional del Aire y del Espacio marking the first time the F-35 has been to South America.

The lead aircraft was piloted by Capt. Andrew Olson, F-35 Heritage Flight Team commander and pilot.

The aircraft arrived in Santiago, Chile Friday, March 30 and will be on public display at the FIDAE air show starting Tuesday, April 3 through Sunday, April 8.

Bringing the F-35 to FIDAE helps meet training needs for the aircrews and maintenance personnel for various operations including long-range flights, air-to-air refueling, as well as provides an opportunity to strengthen military-to-military relationships with regional partners.

The two F-35s at FIDAE are part of the F-35 Heritage Flight Team. The Lightning II qualified to take part in the Air Combat Command Air Force Heritage Flight program in 2016. The team includes one pilot and 12 maintainers, all selected from Luke AFB. The F-35 Heritage Flight Team is scheduled to take part in 13 air shows for the 2018 season.

The F-35 combines fifth-generation fighter aircraft characteristics – advanced stealth, integrated avionics, sensor fusion and superior logistics support – with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history.