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514th FLTS soars skies over northern Utah

Lt. Col. Beau “Strap” Wilkins, 514th Flight Test Squadron test pilot, flies a low approach over taxiway Alpha in an unpainted U.S. Air Force Thunderbird F-16 Fighting Falcon during a functional check flight at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, July 1, 2019 (U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd)

Lt. Col. Beau “Strap” Wilkins, 514th Flight Test Squadron test pilot, flies a low approach over taxiway Alpha in an unpainted U.S. Air Force Thunderbird F-16 Fighting Falcon during a functional check flight at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, July 1, 2019. The 514th FTS conducts functional check flights on aircraft to ensure they are airworthy after undergoing programmed depot maintenance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd)

Lt. Col. Beau “Strap” Wilkins, 514th Flight Test Squadron test pilot, finishes his landing rollout on taxiway Alpha in an unpainted U.S. Air Force Thunderbird F-16 Fighting Falcon at the end of a functional check flight at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, July 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd)

Lt. Col. Beau “Strap” Wilkins, 514th Flight Test Squadron test pilot, finishes his landing rollout on taxiway Alpha in an unpainted U.S. Air Force Thunderbird F-16 Fighting Falcon at the end of a functional check flight at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, July 1, 2019. The 514th FTS conducts functional check flights on aircraft to ensure they are airworthy after undergoing programmed depot maintenance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd)

The 514th Flight Test Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is one of five depot flight test units belonging to the 413th Flight Test Group, an Air Force Reserve Command unit based at Robins AFB, Georgia. The squadron condcuts functional check flights on aircraft to ensure they are airworthy after undergoing programmed depot maintenance. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

The 514th Flight Test Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is one of five depot flight test units belonging to the 413th Flight Test Group, an Air Force Reserve Command unit based at Robins AFB, Georgia. The squadron condcuts functional check flights on aircraft to ensure they are airworthy after undergoing programmed depot maintenance. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Utahns have seen the F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II and C-130 Hercules aircraft flying around Hill Air Force Base and the Ogden-Salt Lake City area.

However, what many people may not realize is a majority of these aircraft are flown by the pilots and aircrew from the 514th Flight Test Squadron at Hill AFB.

The 514th FLTS is one of five depot flight test units belonging to the 413th Flight Test Group, an Air Force Reserve Command unit based at Robins AFB, Georgia.

The group's units are stationed throughout the United States as tenant units conducting functional check flights on aircraft to ensure they are airworthy after undergoing programmed depot maintenance.

At Hill, the squadron supports the Ogden Air Logistics Complex mission, which is to provide logistics, support and maintenance for the nation’s premier fighter aircraft and other systems.

Once programmed depot maintenance is completed by the Ogden ALC, flight crew from 514th FLTS begin a rigorous series of ground checks to make sure the aircraft are ready for a functional test flight. Upon the aircraft being deemed airworthy, they are returned to their home stations.

While small in terms of size, the 514th has a large, worldwide reach in support of the warfighter and AFRC missions.