WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- A routine flying mission became a major achievement for the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing when Maj. Luke Jayne surpassed 1,000 flying hours in the B-2 Spirit Sept. 14.
Crossing the 1000 hour mark, Jayne joins an elite group of pilots, said Maj. Jared Kennish, 110th Bomb Squadron commander.
"Maj. Jayne’s flight is another milestone for the 110th Bomb Squadron and the131st Bomb Wing,” said Kennish, who logged his 1,000th hour piloting a B-2 in 2009. “In his short time in the squadron, Maj. Jayne has been a great asset. Events like this really highlight the success of our total force integration with the 509th Bomb Wing, and showcase the experience we in the Air Guard bring to the B-2 mission." Fewer than 600 active duty Air Force and Air National Guard pilots have flown the B-2 bomber and of those only 35 have logged 1000 flying hours or more.
“I have flown a couple of times recently, but was just hours shy of logging 1,000 hours,” Jayne said, “I had about a three-month delay in flying due to my transition to the Air National Guard, which is normal, but it was a bit nerve wracking because I was so close."
While relatively new to the 131st, Jayne was active duty for just over 11 years, including duty stations at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and Whiteman.
“I didn't really pursue aviation until I was in college, but quickly learned that I loved it,” Jayne said, “It wasn't until my sophomore year that I looked into a military option when a buddy talked me into joining Air Force ROTC at Kansas State.” Currently the weapons and tactics officer for the 110th Bomb Squadron attached to the 325th Weapons School, Jayne also has flying time in the T-37 and T-38 as an instructor pilot. Saturday, he piloted the B-2 “Spirit of Alaska” alongside Col. Edward Martignetti, 509th Bomb Wing Operations Group commander.
“I first met Maj. Jayne as his squadron commander and knew straight-away that he's an exceptional aviator and instructor,” Martignetti said. “I also knew that he's a perfect fit for our total force integration brethren setting the foundational standard of B-2 Spirit exceptionalism. The 509th hired him directly from undergraduate pilot training for a reason and, a decade later, the 131st hired him for the same reason--his unrelenting drive for perfection in execution and commitment to teaching our officers and pilots the same.
“It was an honor for me, as the 509th Operations Group commander, to be given the opportunity to fly with ‘Deuce’ on this milestone sortie. He has established a reputation as an outstanding pilot and will be an asset to the 131st Bomb Wing. I have no doubt that he'll be one of the first to achieve 2,000 B-2 hours!” The 131st Bomb Wing and 110th Bomb Squadron have lived through much of aviation history in 90 years as a unit, and since relocating from Saint Louis to Whiteman in 2008, have seen many achievements, most recently the passing of their initial nuclear surety inspection.
Only 35 pilots have ever reached 1,000 B-2 hours, and just thirteen still actively fly the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Jayne joins fellow 1,000 hour 131st pilots Col. Mike Pyburn, Lt. Col. Rhett Binger, Lt. Col Dave Thompson, Lt Col. Geoff Billingsley, Maj. Jared Kennish, Maj. John Avery, and Lt. Col Mike Means (over 1700 hours), who recently retired from the 131st Bomb Wing) “Flying the B-2 is an incredible privilege that I haven't lost sight of in my years at Whiteman,” said Jayne, ” I can't believe I get to continue doing this as a Guardsman with the Missouri Air National Guard. My family and I are very blessed and thankful for this opportunity.”