F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) First Flight
The 5th generation stealth F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) accomplished its first flight in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday December 15, 2006. "The Lightning II performed beautifully," said F-35 Chief Pilot Jon Beesley following the flight.
The milestone was accomplished by the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) version of the F-35. The airplane launched at 12:44 p.m. CST, from the Lockheed Martin site in Fort Worth, Texas.
After take-off the stealthy fighter climbed to 15,000 feet.
According to Lockheed, Beesley then performed a series of maneuvers to test aircraft handling and the operation of the engine and subsystems. The flight ended at 1:19 p.m CST. Some published reports indicate the test flight was cut short. Two F-16s and an F/A-18 served as safety chase.
The F-35 is being built as a stealthy, supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation fighter intended to replace AV-8B Harriers, A-10s, F-16s, F/A-18 Hornets and United Kingdom Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers.
The United States and eight international partners are involved in the F-35