[Video] F-35C successfully completes first arrested landing on aircraft carrier

The Navy’s F-35C CV (Carrier Variant) version of the Joint Strike Fighter has finally landed onto the USS Nimitz’s flight deck using a new arresting gear.

On Nov. 3, at 12.18PM LT, F-35C CF-3 with a new tailhook assembly successfully, piloted by Navy test pilot Cmdr. Tony Wilson, landed on the flight deck of USS Nimitz, marking the very first arrested landing of the costly 5th generation plane on a supercarrier.

The successful  arrested landing comes about three years after the F-35C, the variant developed for the U.S. Navy proved to be unable to get aboard a flattop because of its first tailhook design issues.

At that time, during specific tests conducted at NAWC-AD (Naval Air Warfare Center – Aircraft Division) Lakehurst, the F-35C failed to engage the MK-7 arresting gear with a disappointing score of 0 successes in 8 attempts. According to the subsequent reports, root cause analysis pointed to some AHS (Arresting Hook System) design issues: aircraft geometry (short distance between the Main Landing Gear tires and the tailook point); tailkook point design, with scarce ability to scoop low positioned cables;tailkook hold-down ineffective performance in damping bounces relative to the deck surface profiles.

In other words, the distance of 7.1 feet between the tires and the tailhook was too short and the responsive dynamics were such that the cable lied nearly flat on the deck by the time the tailkook point should intercept it for arrestment.


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.


    • Only 4 wires. There are 5 sheaves, but 5th sheave is not connected to a CDP. If you look very carefully at 22 seconds into the video , you’ll see the 5th sheave between 3 and 4 wires, but nothing connected to it, not to mention spacing is way off. I think 5th sheave is used for barricade.

  1. Good news… Hate the programme or the plane, it’s coming.. Time to stop whinging and start looking at what the future will bring with the F35..

    Nearly every programme has gone off the rails, blame the system not the plane. Positive progress is in the best interests of all

    Try to show some maturity in your comments though no doubt the trolls are not far away

        • The issues we’ve seen on the F-35 Lightning II are issues that baffle the mind. The issue with the arresting gear is inexcusable. Lockmart is cutting corners and the cost of this aircraft is rising. I like the F-35 but I do not like the way the program has been run.

    • Like the F4F, F6F, F8F, F4U, F11F, F8, A1, A4, A7, etc. The Navy has a lot of experience operating single engined planes over waters. Admittedly, that ended some time ago and the planes weren’t nearly so expensive, but they’ve done this before. They may have to go back to the non-PC saying of “Put your faith in God and Pratt & Whitney.”

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