Dutch F-16 pilot training returns to America

The Royal Dutch Air Force will soon resume F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot training in America at Tucson International Airport after a five-year absence.

Dutch pilots were the first in a long line of international students to ever train with the 162nd Fighter Wing. Starting in 1989, they were a mainstay program at the Arizona Air National Guard unit for 18 years until they moved to Springfield, Ohio, for a five-year agreement to train with the Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Fighter Wing.

The details of their return, scheduled for January 2011, were the subject of discussion between wing and Dutch air force leaders during a site visit April 26-28.

The Dutch plan to base 14 of their own jets here to participate in basic F-16 training as well as advanced courses such as flight lead upgrade and instructor pilot certification.

In addition to student training, the 162nd will periodically host experienced Dutch pilots for operational training before deployments to Afghanistan; training opportunities similar to those offered at Operation Snowbird, a wing detachment at nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

The initial agreement for training in Tucson is a three year program with an option to extend based on the needs of the Dutch air force.

Courtesy of 162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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