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Arizona air base schedules night flights to train F-16 pilots

(Photo by Jim Hanseltine)

PHOENIX — It’s going to be very loud every now and again at night in part of the West Valley the rest of March.

Officials said Luke Air Force Base pilots assigned to fly F-16 jets are scheduled to conduct training night flights Monday through Thursday evenings in the Glendale area.

Weekends will be free of night training.

Base officials said they try to minimize night flights to reduce the noise impact on neighboring communities but said pilots need to learn to fly at night for their pilots’ safety and performance.

The base also noted that an F-35A had successfully test-dropped a laser-guided bomb this week at a range near the Arizona-Mexico border.

Maj. Matthew Strongin, 62nd Fighter Squadron weapons chief, was one of two pilots who employed the bombs at the range.

“The training focus at Luke has shifted,” Strongin said in a base news release.

“The previous years centered on building instructor pilot cadre. We are now focused on producing combat capable warfighters for the front-line fighter squadrons in the Air Force and our partner nations. Dropping full-scale munitions are a significant step forward for Luke’s instructors and students.”

The base has been home to the F-35 for two years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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