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Face of Defense: Air Force F-22 Pilot Reaches New Heights

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska, July 15, 2016 — A military pilot based here achieved 1,000 flying hours in an F-22 Raptor aircraft, June 22, 2016.

Air Force Lt. Col. Brandon Tellez, 525th Fighter Squadron commander and F-22 pilot, departed for his milestone flight at approximately 9:09 a.m. and landed at 10:30 a.m.

Tellez saluted maintenance crews and others who have helped him to reach this milestone.

“It marks a tremendous amount of effort to put me in this position,” Tellez said. “The opportunity to fly this jet as long as I have is a tremendous honor. It is a privilege every single day, and a testament to all the hard work our maintenance puts in to give me the opportunity.”

Long-Time Fighter Pilot

Tellez has been a fighter pilot for 15 years. He said his achievement comes after nine years of flying the F-22.

Tellez is the 23rd pilot to reach 1,000 flying hours in a Raptor, said John Newsom, 3rd Wing F-22 contract site manager.

If taken consecutively, Tellez would have spent more than 41 days in the aircraft to complete 1,000 flying hours, Newsom said.

Completing 1,000 hours in a fighter jet is significant because it takes so long to accomplish, Tellez said. Sorties in the fighter, he said, are typically one-to-two hours.

Air Force Blue Sky

The sky was Air Force blue; an appropriate backdrop as the day’s events unfolded.

Tellez’s countenance was of a person overjoyed -- having realized an achievement few others have been able to do.

“It’s a tremendous day to fly in Alaska,” Tellez said, after exiting his aircraft.

Tellez was greeted by friends, coworkers, and the 525th FS mascot, following his flight.

Select Company

A plaque and patch, only given to pilots who reach the 1,000-hour milestone, was presented in the 525th FS heritage room by representatives from Boeing and Lockheed-Martin.

“You’re never wrong to put yourself in a position where you have opportunity,” said Tellez, reflecting on the day’s accomplishment.

It’s interesting to think, in the 1,000 hours I have put in the cockpit,” he added, “there have been upwards of 10,000 [hours] of hard work [by others] to put that cockpit around me.”
Distribution channels: Military