Luke Air Force Base Receives First F-35

Luke Air Force Base Receives First F-35

Luke Air Force Base Receives First F-35

Glendale, AZ

March 10, 2014

Story and Photos by Steven Valinski

Luke Air Force Base, located in Glendale, Arizona received their first Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II shortly after 11am this morning. The F-35A tail number 11-5030 was escorted by two Luke AFB based General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons. These escorts were among some of the oldest flying F-16’s based out of Luke and are over 28 years old. The F-35A is the 100th F-35 off of the Lockheed Martin production line and will be delivered to the 61st Fighter Squadron (61 FS) “Top Dogs” as their first F-35 aircraft since being reactivated as a squadron on October 27, 2013. The aircraft has arrived in time to be statically displayed at Luke’s “Lightning in the Desert” Airshow that takes place on March 15th and 16th. Today’s arrival is symbolic of a new era at Luke AFB.  Luke was selected as a major training base for the F-35 and, eventually, Luke will have 144 F-35A aircraft based there.

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Steven Valinski
Steven is from Long Island, New York and now resides in sunny Mesa, Arizona. Steven’s love for aviation began when he was a child with a fascination for WWII aircraft. This love of aviation was further fostered by his uncle, a long-time Trans World Airlines (TWA) employee who had a passion for all forms of aviation.

Steven’s interest in photography began when he was 16 years old when he received his first SLR camera, a Minolta XGA. It makes sense that eventually his passion for aviation and photography would merge into a love for aviation photography.

In addition to being the web designer, webmaster and chief editor of Aviation Photography Digest, Steven has been published in numerous magazines worldwide.

Steven has an M.S. from Boston University and uses Nikon photographic equipment.

Steven is a Nikon NPS Titanium member.

Steven can be reached at: [email protected]
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