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First British Pilot to Finish Raptor Training
The first British pilot to complete F-22 Raptor training graduated this week.
By U.S. Air Force Capt. J. Elaine Hunnicutt / 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., July 18, 2006 – The first British pilot to complete F-22 Raptor training graduated this week at Tyndall Air Force Base.

Flight Lt. Dan Robinson, from the Royal Air Force, is assigned to Langley Air Force Base, Va.  He has completed two months of training with the 43rd Fighter Squadron as part of an exchange program.

In return, an American fighter pilot will be trained and fly side-by-side with the Royal Air Force on the new EF-2000 Eurofighter Typhoon. 

"The fact that we were to train a British pilot came as no surprise; it is a natural progression to integrate our coalition partners into this process."

U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Cabral

For the coalition, the benefit of the exchange program is the implementation of the aircraft capabilities into the multi-national planning process.

Both the Raptor' and Typhoon' potential and capabilities will be better understood by both America and the United Kingdom in battle, providing better results and minimizing collateral damage and loss of coalition life.

Robinson is a combat veteran who has served in the Royal Air Force since 1996.

"I have been fascinated with aircraft since I was a child; I was that kid who always wanted to talk to the pilot," he said. "My father was a businessman, and we traveled a lot on planes while I was growing up."

He comes from a family of warriors. Both of his grandfathers served in the military during World War II.

Robinson was flying F-3 Tornados with the Royal Air Force 25th Fighter Squadron in England prior to the exchange program. The 29-year-old pilot arrived in the United States in March.

He originally applied for the F/A-18 Super Hornet exchange program and was given the disappointing news in front of his peers that he was not selected.

As he stood there dumbfounded and disappointed, his commander announced that he was going to the F-22 Raptor exchange program instead. 

"I didn't even know that it existed or that I was up for it," Robinson said. "I couldn't believe it."

He said his biggest challenge in the program was taking all of the information that is made available in this weapon system and using it.

The F-22 has the ability to pull from multiple sources of data, allowing the pilot to gain a large, detailed picture of the battlefield.

"It is the leading edge for fifth-generation aircraft," he said.

Following graduation, Robinson will train, exercise and deploy with his assigned Langley squadron.

"I will be like any other front-line pilot in the squadron," he said.

Other than a few phraseology challenges, his instructors said he did outstanding in the program and will return to Langley a true asset for the Raptor program. 

Little things like "flight pattern versus circuit" can cause confusion between pilots and air traffic controllers, said U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Cabral, 43rd Fighter Squadron chief of weapons and tactics.

"But, once we got him his decoder ring for U.S. speech, he was good to go, " Cabral noted. "Fighter pilots are fighter pilots."

"The fact that we were to train a British pilot came as no surprise; it is a natural progression to integrate our coalition partners into this process," he explained."

"With his combat skill set, it was a seamless transition," he emphasized. "He has coalition operations and weapons instructor experience; he will be a force multiplier." 

Approximately 70 pilots have graduated from the Raptor training program to date.

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Sep. 30, 2014
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