Lieutenants Get First Flights in F-22 Raptor

Some time ago the Air Force began giving pilot training graduates an assignment to the F-22 directly out of UPT.  Previously, pilots had to be trained in another fighter — F-15, F-16 — first, then take the F-22 as a future assignment. The F-22 was always intended to be a traditional “pipeline” fighter, however, so it was only a matter of time before the first F-22 Lt took to the air.

After three years of rigorous U.S. Air Force pilot training, 25-year-old 1st Lt. Andrew Van Timmeren, 7th Fighter Squadron pilot, finally got to climb into the world’s most advanced fighter jet and take it for a spin…

When 1st Lt. Stephen Renner, 7th FS pilot, walked out to an F-22 for the first time, he had to do a gut check.

The two did have to fly three sorties in an F-16, so their path to the F-22 was still slightly different than other fighters — but then, the F-22 is slightly different:  It is the only US Air Force fighter that does not have a two-seat version.  (Likewise, the A-10 is single-seat only.)

Recognize the name Van Timmeren?  He was the Cadet Wing Commander at USAFA — who almost quit in Basic Training, until a Chaplain convinced him to stay.