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F-35: First Flight Imminent

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posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 04:56 PM
Today was an experience I will never forget, being out on the flight line for its first flight was awesome. Below is the link from CBS11

First Flight Video

posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 08:56 PM
thanks for the videos.

well done lockheed. good to see this program moving forward.

posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 10:44 PM
Great video(s), here are some pictures from today's event. I was lucky enough to get "backdoor" access to the live video feed from the Team JSF website from someone who is a subscriber. Watching that plane takeoff live gave me goosebumps. I was not able however to record the live video feed so no high resolution video, yet.

The Flight lasted 35 minutes, short of the planed 60 minutes. This was due to one of the air data sensors not working properly, however it was not a major problem. This is the fist flight after all so things can go wrong. The jet climbed to 15,000 feet and handled very well according to the pilot and the people involved with the program. From what I'm hearing Jon (Beasley) had to climb at a steeper angle (in mil power) than planned to stay within the set speed limits. And apparently the F-16 chase fighters had a little trouble keeping up with the F-35 without using their burners, remember the F-35 did not retract it's landing gear.

Jon S. Beesley, chief test pilot for the Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the F-35, said the plane handled "marvelously," performed flawlessly and flew better than the simulator. He flew to 15,000 feet, escorted by three jets that provided safety and took pictures.

Officials initially said the test flight would last an hour; Beesley flew for 35 minutes.

He said one of two air data sensors was not operating properly. Although it did not pose a danger, the procedure called for ending the flight at that time, preventing completion of the remaining few tests, including raising the landing gear, officials said.

"Certainly to fly this first flight with the duration of almost 40 minutes and to only have this single warning appear in the pilot's display related to this sensor is remarkable, and we're really pleased with the quality of this first jet," said Dan Crowley, executive vice president and general manager of the Joint Strike Fighter program.


Fort Worth, Texas, December 15, 2006 --

The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35 Lightning II lifted into the skies today for the first time, completing a successful inaugural flight and initiating the most comprehensive flight test program in military aviation history.

"The Lightning II performed beautifully," said F-35 Chief Pilot Jon Beesley following the flight. "What a great start for the flight-test program, and a testimony to the people who have worked so hard to make this happen." The most powerful engine ever placed in a fighter aircraft the Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan, with 40,000 pounds of thrust effortlessly pushed the F-35 skyward.

The flight of the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35 variant began at 12:44 p.m. CST at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, when the jet lifted off and began a climb-out to 15,000 feet. Beesley then performed a series of maneuvers to test aircraft handling and the operation of the engine and subsystems. He returned for a landing at 1:19 p.m CST. Two F 16s and an F/A-18 served as chase aircraft.


Here's hoping to a longer and more exciting second flight which will likely happen sometime next week.

[edit on 15-12-2006 by WestPoint23]

posted on Dec, 17 2006 @ 10:59 AM
Word had it second flight could of come as early as Monday but the weather is not looking good for Monday thru Wednesday, it could happen Thursday but the best day is Friday. Weather is crucial since AA-1 is operating under VFR at this time (Visual Flight Rules) and since all flight ops will happen below the cloud cover at approximately 10-15 thousand feet.

In the meantime some more pictures...

[edit on 17-12-2006 by WestPoint23]

posted on Dec, 17 2006 @ 09:58 PM
Here it is. Video of the first flight, released officially on YouTube.

Video Link

Notice no AB on takeoff.

[edit on 17-12-2006 by WestPoint23]

posted on Dec, 18 2006 @ 07:56 PM
westy thanks for great pics and videos FANTASTIC

and love your avatar pics as well

posted on Dec, 18 2006 @ 10:47 PM
Nice pics, all! Very impressive, and it is a good thing to see this program moving forward!

However, at the risk of exposing my own ignorance, I do have one question: why is the Lightning flying with her gear up the whole time? I've tried to wrap my head around it, but no explanation I can come up with makes any sense...

posted on Dec, 19 2006 @ 01:00 AM

Originally posted by PhloydPhan
I do have one question: why is the Lightning flying with her gear up the whole time? I've tried to wrap my head around it, but no explanation I can come up with makes any sense...

I assume you mean gear down...

they do that on test flights...your allready testing out many crucial systems...and theres no need to test out the landing gear on its first flights...they will do that in later flights...once they have tested out the more critical systems.

posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 10:05 PM
Oh Please.

'Whodda Thunk It?' Less than 3 centuries after Bernoulli first thought of it, /aerophysics still work/.

Anything will fly if you kick it hard enough people.

I hereby volunteer to prove that theory on any F-35 they care set me behind. I'll bring the boot.

The 'the plane the warfighter needs' (Another Beesley quote) first flew /without a man as the key system shortcoming/ FOUR YEARS AGO.

Almost to the day that this one did.

Yet nobody creamed their shorts when it too proved that old man Dan was dead on right about pressure differentials.

That said, let's cut to the video shall we?

1. Slow acceleration. I have no idea if he stood on the brakes while the engine spooled to mil or let it 'roll off' (as it appears) while building acceleration but the idea that the jet is such a porker that, with presumably less than full internal fuel and NO WEAPONS, is explicit in the takeoff run.

2. Whacked flight control responses. Notice how early in the roll the stabs deflect (generating downforce which is the bane of takeoff performance). Notice then how the jet also seems to shudder as either Beesley has to compensate for a crosswind and/or override an automatic rudder toein 'for added lift' (always a bad sign) creates problems with residual control authorities.

3. In comparison to the excessively loose roll axis, notice how flat and stiff if not /lagged/ all the pitch control responses are and how, in particular, this leads to an early 'settle' right off the runway. And a rapid nose-down moment when he brings it back in. No aerobraking. No controllability margins on scatter. Just a very long approach and quite fast mains-to-nose drop.

I don't like the F-35. It is a preexisting bias to my own opinions that you should be quite aware of.

In addition to being a terrible theft of public funds to do THE WRONG MISSION FOR OUR FORCES; I have always thought it looked strange with the aftset starfighter wing and the extended tailboom arms trying to balance out control moments even further behind that. Now I see more and more of what looks to me like inadequate (or improperly blended) control laws on a wide stance, long base, 'lift off the intakes' airframe and I _really wonder_ if it is an appropriate aerodynamic configuration 'for all three missions'. Including and especially the two naval ones in which the F-35 actually does something that the F-22 does not.

I don't like the large monolithic nosegear door. I have a feeling that is going to create /immense/ directional forces as a keeling effect. I don't like the way the entire airframe heels and wallows with such a large frontal area and both lift and rotation axis aft with the control effectors.

I _worry_ that, even after the limited flight controls range and particularly allowable dynamic AOA thresholds are expanded, that this is the jet they are going to use to 'justify' (KPP) the SDD progress into full rate production as one which is not fully representative of either the (more difficult) mission and handling requirement variations going to sea.

And I flat out believe that we will be damn lucky to get the production rates deemed necessary for 'commercial success' after having suffered program lag and cost penalties in both system design (away from the 'generic' parts motto and towards more airframe if not variant specific subsystems). And particularly the loss of the Quick Mate joins and structural/lifing issues revolving around the STOVL model weight reductions (thin skins and a wing lapjoint now on it's third iteration).

Beesley is the classic case of an establishment man as the aging white 'company man' TP as a dinosaur from times before point of reliable sales pitch.

This is likely his final run and while you might think that meant he has 'nothing to lose' and would say it like it is, the institution factor on his saturation within the 'Team, Team, Team' mindset is so high by now that I doubt he has anything but plusses to say anymore. Something you get a hint of in his personal interview when he says "I don't like to lie, I just don't say the full truth..."

Which, at a practical level, of course means he is a mouthpiece for Lunchmeat Corporate Policy.

All very 'careful'. All totally urbane and easing to your inbuilt disbelief -by design-. But still entirely vulnerable to critical analysis:

What's amazing about this airplane back here is how highly integrated it is and the amount of effort by the engineers here to make that work... That is the most complicated inside-airplane that's ever been built and all of that 'stuff' worked flawlessly.

It's an early preseries production flight test airframe. I doubt if it has a single element of the production weapons system or mission avionics installed.

The airplane itsef flew marvelously... The wonderful thing for me is that now we start this whole saga that's going to be the greatest fighter program in history, the first flight of...thousands. And we have a wonderful opportunity here and again, this was a great beginning.

Taken 'in context' with his job as a functional middle-management PR functionary for Lockheed Martin, this sounds like a man endorsing his own job-security. Not a carefully objective view of what the jet can do for our military. But what it means as 'all the test sorties I get to fly after this one'.

If a used car salesman tried to sell you on a car based on how many more test drives he had to take before he could sell it to you, you would be on your ass laughing at how he possibly managed to keep his commission this long.

Not least if he was trying to sell you an Edsel as a Trans Am.

Because the F-35, all the thrust in the world aside, is _Not A Fighter_.

It was never intended to be.

It is because of this and other elements in the story that you should be very wary of taking Beesley's Word as anything more than that of someone whose bias is all too apparent as being both 'the ultimate fly boy's fly boy' (what they all strive to be). And someone a little too deep into the enemy camp where that enemy is blind commercialism for it's own 'defense base' sake.


posted on Jan, 9 2007 @ 07:12 AM
The F-35 (AA-1) Lightning II achieved a second test flight Monday January 8th without any problems or delays. And as you can see in the picture they retracted the landing gear.

One more thing, all subsequent test flights are going to be less and less interesting to the general population, therefore get less publicity (unless something noteworthy happens). So if you don't hear anything it does not mean that they cancelled the project.

The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35 Lightning II achieved another successful test flight today from the company’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility.

The F-35 Lightning II cruises over North Texas at 20,000 feet on Monday, Jan. 8. F-35 Chief Test Pilot Jon Beesley described the aircraft as "dazzling" as he put it through a battery of handling and propulsion tests on its second flight.

Link to High Rez

Approximately 10 minutes into the flight, Beesley retracted the landing gear and climbed from 15,000 to 20,000 feet to evaluate handling qualities and engine operation in the cruise mode at Mach 0.6 (~ 450 m.p.h.) and Mach 0.7 (~ 530 m.p.h.). The handling tests included rolls, turns, angle-of-attack changes and engine throttle changes. The flight lasted 62 minutes and was executed exactly as planned. It followed the aircraft’s successful first flight on Dec. 15, when the F-35 demonstrated unprecedented engine performance and handling qualities.


posted on Jan, 9 2007 @ 09:29 AM
Actually, I would disagree.

As they work on true envelope expansion, videos showing relative alphas, where the G-vortices are streaming and how hard/well the various control surfaces work together will tell an expert an awful lot about how truly 'fighter like' this flying tank is apt to be. Others will use that as comparison with the Canard Clones and Super-Sooks as marketable propoganda as well.

FAILING TO SHOW THIS will indeed be seen as evidence of a problem because nobody sells a strike airframe. They sell fighters.

Of course there will be areas where total ordnance qualification and clearance rates will be important, the notion that Lot 1 jets are expected to be delivered only with internal carriage capability and the Lot 2 only getting tanks and AAM, receiving _major_ criticism from the export customers. Which means that weapons clearance work will equally 'interesting' as the B/rit and US-A-F intial qualification loads will say a lot about how this jet is really expected to perform.

Both for type and combinations.

Officially, the F-35 is well down the list of GBU-39 qualifiers for instance (After the F-15E, F-22, B-2 and one model of CCIP F-16 IIRR). But without that capability, you are left with only the GBU-38 either single parented or on dual BRU-57 racks. Which are ALSO not as yet widely qualified. 2,000lb JDAMs frankly are not all that much for a primary mudfighter, they are expensive and they are overkill for nations looking to multiple a SMALL force purchase with lots of cheap midget-IAMs.

There will be some interesting spray testing behind a KC-135 and the work inside the climate chambers at Arnold I think it is which were all also 'highlights' on the F-22 program.

At somepoint I expect them to announce that the jet is capable of low-end supercruise and to provide some basics of combat ceiling and range performance to go with. That too will be covered.

And then the avionics workups will begin as a massive push towards full mission testing in support of DIOT&E/IOT&E as the sponsoring Service (probably USAF) says "Hooray another success story, we'll take 3,000!" or BS to that effect.

It's one thing for Beesley to say "This is the most ready-to-go, production quality, airframe I have ever seen."

It's another to see how fast and well it DOES in fact agressively expand the envelope as the precursor to tactical trials.

Particularly given as this _non spec_ airframe is the one which will effectively decide SDDs transition to production in less than two years and unlike the Raptor which they couldn't clam tight enough on, the worthless Sky Knights will want to tout all it's bells in such a manner as to be timed with the 'best moment' of the Iraq War resolution and quite possibly the Presidential campaigns.

Which moments are also comparitively shortterm.

Of course the fix is in. Whoever the 'real' polls pick for POTUS in '08 will have a solid Lockheed Plank on his platform. But it is quite possible that a Democratic Congress, in a fit of pique and full of themselves, will choose to compromise the program with lowered purchases as blackmail on a 1,001 pork projects in an inconvenient rampup year. And so it's necessary not only to make the Just So Bleeped work but to keep things tight and high visibility so that there is 'good spin and a deciding vote' inherent to a seated Republican rather than a devil's pairing of Democrats to slow things down.

From Lunchmeats perspective, the better the JSF performs, even if it is nothing more than as a clone of F-16 performance envelope, the happier they should be to share it all with us. They've talked about production facilities and subsystem components long enough. Now is the time to get as much hype on the next DOTC candidate _itself_ as possible.

One possible route, given how 'superbly' it is meeting expectations as an all-together airframe with automated mission functions up the wazzoo is to have a Brit or at least Navy/Marine TP standup as the alternate mission pilot representative of 'all the thousands of test flights in the program schedule we expect to keep'.

It may suck. They certainly do. But that doesn't mean this isn't a fully orchestrated production and given the stakes, I hardly expect them to lowkey it.


posted on Jan, 10 2007 @ 08:22 PM
nice pic, its now my wallpaper.

Does anyone know when there will be a "B" varient flying?

posted on Jan, 10 2007 @ 11:39 PM

Originally posted by Murcielago
Does anyone know when there will be a "B" varient flying?

First flight for the F-35B STOVL is scheduled for February of 2008. The Article below gives a better explanation.

The first test aircraft, an F-35A model AA-1, had its formal rollout on July 7, 2006. The F-35B STOVL's forced redesign for weight reasons has led to F-35 AA-1 being a unique airframe used to validate design, manufacturing, assembly and test processes. The first optimised-airframe F-35B STOVL is being assembled by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems; it is scheduled to fly in February 2008. The first optimized-airframe F-35A will follow in August 2008, and the first F-35C carrier variant is scheduled for flight in January 2009. A total of 23 test aircraft are scheduled to be built for various purposes (15 flight, 7 non-flight, 1 radar signature).

High Rez Image


Related Articles

F-35B Assembly

Oh by the way, the F-35 (AA-1) completed it's third test flight yesterday (Jan. 10th) at Ft. Worth, it took off at approximately 10:00 AM CST.

posted on Jan, 12 2007 @ 04:11 AM
great pics, vids and info guys. what a sweet plane.

posted on Jan, 12 2007 @ 08:33 AM

Originally posted by chinawhite

Originally posted by chinawhite
Is this the F-35 cockpit?

If it is, what happened to that big screened F-35 cockpit, was that just a concept?

Does anyone know which plane this cockpit belongs to?

This might have been answered already, but the picture is of the F-22 Raptor cockpit.

posted on Jan, 12 2007 @ 10:39 PM
No it's not, as I said before there are Chinese characters in the upper left hand corner of the cockpit. Given the background I am inclined to say this is some sort of mock up intended to show what the cockpit of some future Chinese fighter might look like.

This is what a Raptor cockpit looks like.

posted on Jan, 13 2007 @ 12:17 AM
General Update

During the second and third test flights the F-35 retracted it's landing gear (as mentioned previously) and performed several aerodynamic and engine trials. It reached speeds of Mach 0.7 while doing some ACM such as rolls and it also tried out different angles of attack.

Video: Lockheed Martin performs second and third handling and engine test flights, with landing gear retracted

The flights took place on 8 January and 10 January from the company's Fort Worth, Texas facility. F-35 chief test pilot Jon Beesley says the aircraft was "dazzling" as flew it over north Texas during handling and propulsion tests.

"The maturity of this highly integrated aircraft for its second flight is dazzling - when it's time to fly it is always ready and takes minimal time to get out of the chocks," he says.


Link to very short You Tube video of AA-1 retracting it's landing gear. Notice as the F-35 starts to pull away from the chase plane as the landing gear goes up.

[edit on 13-1-2007 by WestPoint23]

posted on Jul, 11 2008 @ 05:37 PM
reply to post by Seekerof

The air force should stick to the f-22 dispite the greatness of the f-35 (which i someday hope to pilot for the navy) because the f-22 is more stealthy and faster than the f-35 plus the f-22 has supercruise(the f-22 is powered by two 35,000 lb thrust f119-pw-100 engines)

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 09:17 PM
f16 blook 60 is beter then f35 and beter f22
and super hornet blook 2

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 10:06 PM
reply to post by Anonymous ATS

You need both, the Hi-Lo mix has worked for decades, no point in messing with it now. The F-35 is more versatile and will offer great strike capability as well serve three branches and a boatload of countries.

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