Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin announced Wednesday that their test pilot, Lt. Col. Mark "Red" Ward, a retired U.S. Air Force officer, reached a new milestone by becoming the first pilot to reach 100 flight hours in the T-50A, Lockheed's advanced pilot training.
The T-50A is aimed at training future pilots for 5th generation aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lighting II.
"This has been a great opportunity to be involved in a project that is so important to the U.S. Air Force and the foundation for pilot training," Ward said. "It's a great plane to fly and will make an excellent trainer for generations of pilots to come."
The T-50A is similar to flying the F-16, as well as the F-22 and F-35, as it "creates better pilots, in less time, for less cost by enabling student pilots to focus their airmanship skills on improved aero performance, digital flight controls/fly-by-wire, with NextGen air traffic management systems, while operating from an anthropometrically designed 5th Generation cockpit," Lockheed Martin said.
Ward passed the 100-hour mark shortly after take-off from Greenville on the way to the 2017 Joint Base San Antonio Air Show and Open House at JBSA-Lackland Kelly Field Annex in Texas, which took place earlier this month, the company said in a press release.