Here’s a photo of the four F-35B jets set to take part to UK airshows stuck on the ground at Pax River

They will not make it to RIAT at Fairford, but they could still attend Farnborough International Airshow 2014.

The above image was posted by Naval Air Station Patuxent River Facebook page on Jul. 10.

It shows the four F-35B aircraft from VMFA-121 Green Knights at MCAS Yuma, that arrived at Pax River on Friday, Jun 27, on their way to the UK where they were expected to take part in Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) and Farnborough International Airshow (FIA).

On Jul. 3, a fleet-wide grounding forced them to remain parked on the VX-23 apron.

It has just been announced, that the aircraft will not make it to the RIAT airshow. Still, there are some chances they can  support the FIA airshow.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

H/T to Tosh for the image and Tom S. J. Jones for the link to the RIAT statement.


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.


  1. I read story after story about the F-35 but can’t seem to find an answer to a most important question. How well does the plane do in actual combat with the previous generation of fighters and with the more recent fighters from other countries? All I hear are troubles with the plane (as here) and huge budget overruns. If it can’t even fight, none of those matter.

    I ask because Robert Coram’s Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the World mentions one U.S. fighter so ill-designed, there was literally no situation where it had an advantage over its Soviet counterpart.

    Do we have the same problem with the F-35? Designed to do everything, do we have a plane that can do nothing well?

    If so, then we need to cut our losses, dump plans to build it in quantity, and get by for a time on revisions of older designs. And while we’re at it, perhaps the Pentagon can learn the advantages of less-expensive specialty planes designed to do one important set of tasks well, like the A-10 Warthog.

    • While trying to find out what aircraft he thought was so ill designed I read about one of his theories. The OODA cycle which seems to fit the F 35 to a tee. It is all about having accurate information before the enemy. Analyzing and acting on that info before the enemy and being able to respond to changes in the situation. The first 3 steps in the theory are handled by the F 35 itself, greatly reducing pilot load. I find it hard to believe that so many countries are buying into this program when so many excellent 4th and 4.5 generation aircraft are available for substantially less money. South Korea gave strong consideration to the F 15 Silent Eagle and stayed the course on the F 35. If all these western countries are wrong we will all be in deep stuff if there is a major conflict in the pacific. In Europe there will be enough Eurofighters and Rafales to bail us out.

    • The F35 is in fact a continuation of the failed Russian project called “Yak 43”. After finding a bottomless money pit they gave up the design and sold it to the Americans who with their greater cash reserves thought it could work. There is a reason Sydney Camm made the Harrier small. Lets hope the British Taranis system is carrier capable as the F35B blatantly wont be ready in time to get put on the UK’s carriers entering service no matter how much they fudge the delays.

      • You do realize that only a small portion of the F-35’s being produced will have the STOVL capability right?

    • Greetings, I am not involved in with the F-35 ITT, but been in the fighter business for 24 years and I can offer my “view” of the fighter world to answer your question. The F-35 has not flown in actual combat, much less against current aircraft in our inventory. The F-35 has numerous flight restrictions on it (which is normal when fielding a new design in the name of safety), which include daytime VFR flying, limited carriage of ordnance due to operational testing not completed, also the OFP software currently installed allows the pilot to basically learn to fly the jet, no operational SMS software, SCU ,etc, etc.
      The F-35 will eventually meet the requirements established by the DoD, but with government budgets squeezed, this new fighter just makes it an easy target for critics, much like the “controversial” V-22 that took 20 years to field, but it was needed to replace 40+ year old helos. “Cut our losses”, that cow has the left barn for a lack of words. Too much money and no plan “B” has been invested into the F-35, it is here to stay.
      The problem with the A-10 is it is a one-trick pony, it performs its mission very well, but cannot fly OCA, DCA, SEAD, DEAD, BSA and other missions the multi-role F-15E, F-16C, F/A-18 and eventually the F-35 will perform. The A-10 requires a permissive, to semi-permissive environment to operate in where the F-22 and F-35 will operate “day 1” of an air campaign and employ kinetic munitions in denied airspace with IADS deployed by peer and neer-peer nations. All of these factors make the A-10 an easy target for retirement when budgets have tightened and Big Blue is going to do whatever it takes to protect the F-35, KC-46, LRS-B as these are weapons systems the Air Force plans to take to the fight in future years. Unfortunately the days of single mission airframes is coming to an end, and future fighter aircraft will be expected and designed to be network centric nodes, with stealth, and man/machine infused.

    • How well does the F-35 fly? The detractors will say ( very often ) it has small wings its too fat and it cant fly well. Actual pilots coming off older aircraft and onto the F-35 say completely the opposite. USN pilots from the ranks of the Super Bug and the Hornet will say that the F-35C carries as much internal fuel as a F/A-18E with a full internal load and two external drop tanks but flies like a clean Super Hornet. USAF Viper drivers say the F-35A can outrun a clean F-16 with just military thrust ( in certain regimes ). USMC pilots say that the F-35B is easier to fly ( in hover ) then the older AV-8B and have comparable kinematic performances to an F/A-18C. Pilots across the board in general state the F-35 is an easier aircraft to fly then their previous experiences with older and modern ( active service ) aircraft. So another question that more people should be asking themselves is, who’s opinion do/would you trust more?

      Many people believe the aircraft Col. Boyd would mention was the famed F-4. Though earlier in Vietnam the exchange rate for an F-4 was 1:2. Later in Vietnam and towards the end the exchange rate went up to 1:5 ( though average kill ratio throughout was 1:3 ) In the hands if Israeli pilots, the F-4 near dominated over Russian made Migs and Suhkois against Arab nations. Though the F-4 was far from perfect later models and improvements to the F-4 as well as pilot training and tactics made the F-4 formidable against aircraft in the same class.

    • I would guess it opens forward because the STOVL models don’t have room for a canopy mechanism behind the cockpit since the lift fan is installed right there.

  2. “I believe I can fly…”

    Funny thing the Scorpion that made its first flight only few months ago managed to get to uk without any sort of problem

    • It’s almost like big budget projects are more complex and run into more development problems than small ones. Weird.

      • Meh…with all that billions of dollars spent on it, it’s almost like all the brains (how many hundreds?) involved in designing and engineering did not do a great job after all

        • You’re right. Everyone working at lockheed did a bad job and are shoddy engineers. It’s not like any other aircraft has ever run into development issues.. especially not other stealth fighter programs. After all, it’s not like making a stealth fighter to satisfy the requirements of three US military branches and nine countries is a complicated task, plenty of other contractors have pulled it off before.

          ..or maybe you’re just so determined to hate the F-35 that you’re making ludicrous comparisons between the largest defense project in the history of mankind, and a tiny cessna patrol aircraft.

          • You love the jsf so much that every time i post a comment about it you feel compelled to rush in and defend it, sure an heroic job, but are you paid by Lockheed perhaps? Must wound your pride reading critics about f-35..
            By the way it’s a fact: scorpion made it to the uk, your overly expensive flying sex toy is grounded, best achievement reached: formation flying ?

            • I love that you assume I’m paid by lockheed martin just because I disagree with you and am willing to call you out on your BS. It must be such an easy way to go through life.. just assuming anyone who doesn’t share your viewpoint is paid by the opposition.

              It’s also interesting to note that every time an F-35 article is posted, you feel compelled to rush in and badmouth it. The only reason I reply is because it’s annoying to see bandwagon haters like yourself making illogical comparisons with cessnas. It truly is puzzling how you could hate a plane so much.. probably because you’re paid by Sukhoi ;)

  3. Only way they will make it is if they load them into a C-5 and truck them over Will be dam lucky if they can fly all the way without an inflight or loss.

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