Lockheed Martin test pilot David ‘Doc’ Nelson became the first pilot to achieve 1,000 flight hours in the F-35 in January.

According to a press release, the pilot 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.

Nelson said:

“It’s an honour. 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.”

The press release concludes:

“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.”

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