Dr Sky interviews Lt. Col. Michael Ebner

Recently, I had the high honor of interviewing  Lt. Col. Michael Ebner/ Commander of the 61st Fighter Squadron, one of the oldest squadrons at Luke and one that will soon get the new F-35A fighter. Here is the interview   about  the F-35A  and the  many exciting things that are happening at Luke AFB, as they prepare to become the largest F-35A training  base in the world.

Many thanks to the staff at Luke and in particular, Capt. Tristan Hinderliter/ Chief,Public Affairs and

Lt. Candice N. Dillitte/Chief, Media Relations, for making all this happen!

Don’t forget to come to the Luke AFB, open house, “Lightning In The Desert”, March 15-16, 2014 

See you there!………………

A bit of history on the 61st FS…………..

The 61st Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) was constituted Nov. 20, 1940. It was activated Jan. 15, 1941, in Savannah, Ga., training in P-39 Aircobra and P-40 Warhawks. The 61st later moved to Charlotte, N.C., in May 1941 and again to Charleston, S.C., in December 1941, to help defend the East Coast.In November 1942, P-47 dive test pilots achieved 725 mph, faster than the speed of sound. In 1944, it was recognized as the first fighter squadron in the European theater to score over 100 victories. During 1943 to 1945, the 61st produced 19 Aces, the highest of any squadron in Europe, destroying 248 aircraft in the air and 67.5 aircraft on the ground. It was deactivated October 1945 at Camp Kilmer, NJ and reactivated at Selfridge Field, MI training in P-47’s while transitioning to P-51 Mustangs. In April 1950, the 61st transitioned to the F-80 Shooting Star and later was the first squadron to fly the F-86A Sabre. The 61st was deactivated July 25, 1960, at Truax Field, WI flying the F-102 Delta Dagger. In June 1975, the 61st was reactivated at MacDill AFB, Fla., flying the F-4 Phantom (later the F-4D). In April 1980, the flying mission changed to the F-16 A/B Fighting Falcon. The 61st transitioned in June 1988 to flying the F-16 C/D and the squadron was deactivated at MacDill AFB in January 1994. The squadron was reactivated on April 1, 1994 at Luke AFB, Ariz., replacing the former 314th Fighter Squadron flying the F-16 C/D Fighting Falcon. The squadron’s current mission is to train the best F-16 pilots in the world. Their nickname is “Top Dogs.” The squadron stood down August 27, 2010 and reactivates as of today. The 61st will be Luke AFB’s first squadron to fly the F-35A, the Air Force’s newest fighter.

Joe Kates

Joe Kates is the founder of Photorecon. Joe has been into aviation since he was a child and has a incredible amount of knowledge to do with planes or aviation in general. Today Joe is the owner and Managing Editor of Photorecon.

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