Gardner pilots F-35 demo flight while celebrating Ball Aerospace honor

Author: Mike McKibbin - October 10, 2016 - Updated: October 13, 2016

His cockpit instruments locked onto a control tower, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner fired a GPS-controlled missile without enemy fighters detecting his presence. A minute later, the missile struck its target. Gardner turned his F-35 Lightning II jet back home and safely landed on a U.S. Navy carrier to cheers and applause. While Gardner did not actually fly the next generation stealth fighter - he sat in a demonstration cockpit at Ball Aerospace's Westminster facility on Monday, Oct. 10 - the experience was appreciated by the Republican lawmaker.

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Mike McKibbin

Mike McKibbin

Mike McKibbin is a Denver and Washington political reporter for The Colorado Statesman. A long-time Colorado-based journalist, he has worked as an editor and bureau reporter and won numerous Colorado Press Association and Associated Press awards. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcKibbin7 and email