First STOVL sortie at Eglin for a RAF pilot
On Feb. 25, Royal Air Force pilot, Squadron Leader Hugh Nichols, flew in a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II during the first short take-off and vertical landing sortie by a United Kingdom pilot at Eglin Air Force Base, in Florida, where British pilots and ground crews are undertaking training alongside their Marines counterparts.
The USMC began flying STOVL sorties at Eglin in October last year.
Beginning in 2018, the F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) should operate from Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force
On Aug. 14, the first DT-II (Developmental Test Phase Two – the second of three planned tests aimed at expanding the F-35B’s shipboard operating envelope for the U.S. Marine Corps) night vertical landing was executed by F-35 Marine Corps test pilot, Lt. Col. C.R. “Jimi” Clift. Clift, a Harrier pilot.
The F-35B is the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) of the JSF, destined to replace all the USMC assets, including the Harrier jump jet and the F/A-18 Hornet.
Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps
A question posed in Britain’s Houses of Parliament on Mar. 20 by Scottish Politician Angus Robertson highlighted the amount of time the F-35 development program has been lost due to grounding orders for the jet.
The exact question which was posed to the Secretary of State for defense was as follows: “To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many days of flight testing have occurred and how many days of flight testing have been lost due to grounding of the aircraft since delivery of the first Joint Strike Fighter.”
The answer he got was very concise and quite surprising.
Philip Dunne said: “From the start of Flight Test on Jun. 11, 2008 to Feb. 27, 2013, there have been a total of 6,382 Development Flight Test days of F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft. Over this period, the equivalent of 285 days of Development Flight Test on F-35B aircraft did not take place while aircraft were grounded, or 4.5% of the maximum available flight days.”
The questions posed are done so in advance to give the British government chance to answer accurately; also known as Prime Minister’s question time this takes place on a weekly basis usually on a Wednesday in the Houses of Parliament in London.
After selecting the F-35C CV (Carrier Variant) British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Goverment reverted to the initial decision to order the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) version of the Joint Strike Fighter to equip UK’s future supercarriers.
Image credit: Lockheed Martin
The following awesome pictures show the F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) aircraft BF-4 hovering in the darkness during a night test flight at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, on Dec. 13, 2012.
NVGs concentrate and intensify light by optical means the typical monochrome green tint of the night vision goggles is by design: it is the one that is better perceived and distingued by the human eye.
Image credit: Lockheed Martin