Marine Becomes First Military Pilot to Hit 1,000 Flight Hours in F-35 Fighter

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U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Brian W. Bann, a Marine Corps F-35B pilot, became the first military pilot to accumulate more than 1,000 flight hours in the F-35 Lightning II (U.S. Marine Corps)
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Brian W. Bann, a Marine Corps F-35B pilot, became the first military pilot to accumulate more than 1,000 flight hours in the F-35 Lightning II (U.S. Marine Corps)

A U.S. Marine Corps pilot just made history as the first to surpass 1,000 flight hours in the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.

Lt. Col. Brian W. Bann became the first to accomplish the feat in the service's F-35 Lightning II model while delivering a new aircraft to Marine Aircraft Group 13 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, last month, officials announced Wednesday.

The F-35B can take off and land vertically, known as Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL), from amphibious assault ship flight decks and austere locations with little runway space.

Bann is an acceptance test pilot for all three fifth-generation fighter variants; he's currently assigned to the Defense Contract Management Agency at Lockheed Martin's F-35 production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, according to a news release.

Related: Marines Get 1st F-35 Fighter Jet that Can Operate on an Aircraft Carrier

In December, the company announced it had delivered 134 jets worldwide in 2019, meaning surpassing its goal of 131 fighter deliveries for the year.

Bann, who commissioned in 2000, is one of the first Marine Corps' F-35 pilots and began training on it at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in 2013, according to his biography.

He has accumulated 3,000 hours in various fighter aircraft, the release said.

Bann also has experience as an interservive pilot. He flew the AV-8B Harrier II with Marine Attack Squadron 211 at MCAS Yuma and piloted the F-16 Fighting Falcon for the Air Force with the 55th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, the release added.

In August, Capt. Anneliese Satz became the Marine Corps' first female F-35 pilot.

She became the first woman to complete the F-35B Basic Course after four years of training.

In 2017, Lockheed Martin test pilot David "Doc" Nelson became the first pilot to achieve 1,000 flight hours in an F-35 belonging to Edward Air Force Base's 461st Flight Test Squadron in California.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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