First F-35's STOVL propulsion system in-flight test video

The F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) currently deployed at NAS Patuxent River conducted the first of a series of planend STOVL propulsion system in flight tests that will include short takeoffs, hovers and vertical landings. Piloted by the F-35 Lead STOVL Pilot Graham Tomlinson of BAE Systems, the aircraft took off at 1:53 p.m. EST, climbed to 5,000 feet and engaged the shaft-driven LiftFan propulsion system at 210 knots (288 mph), then slowed to 180 knots (207 mph) with the system engaged before accelerating to 210 knots and converting back to conventional-flight mode. The STOVL propulsion system was engaged for a total of 14 minutes during the flight. The aircraft landed back at 2:41 p.m. EST. The testing campaign will continue in the next week. Progressively, the aircraft will fly slower, hovering and ultimately landing vertically. Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager, commented: “The joint F-35 industry and government team has already shown during extended ground tests that the STOVL propulsion system performs well, and thousands of hours of component testing has validated its durability. Now we are seeing early proof that the system operates in flight as our team predicted”.
The following video was released by Lockheed Martin and shows the aircraft engaging the LiftFan system while being chased by a Navy F-18B.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.