GLENDALE (3TV/CBS 5) - Despite a crash of an F-35 in South Carolina last week, pilots at Luke Air Force Base insist the jets are safe to fly.
LAFB trains about 70 percent of the world’s F-35 pilots.
"Every time we go up there, we’re not just making stuff up as we go. It’s rehearsed, it’s calculated, and we train, eat and sleep this stuff every day of the week," said LAFB Captain Andrew Olson.
The single-engine aircraft is the newest, most advanced fighter jet on the planet with a network of sensors, and can carry out missions without being detected.
"Great safety record. We’ve been flying these since 2006, and unfortunately mishaps happen in this line of work," said Olson.
Last Friday, a US Marine Corps F-35-B crashed in Beaufort County, South Carolina. It was the first time an F-35 crashed in it's 12-year history.
No residents were injured. The pilot, who according to LAFB officials was not trained in Arizona, safely ejected.
While the cause of this latest crash is still under investigation, pilots at LAFB are paying close attention.
"We’re going to learn what we can from this mishap and as always in aviation, take the lessons from this one and apply them going forward so we don’t make similar errors if there was one," said Olson.
LAFB plans to double its fleet of F-35s to 144 by 2021.