Video of F-35C jet’s first carrier-based night flight operations aboard aircraft carrier

Nov 16 2014 - 8 Comments

F-35C Lightning II Conducts First Night Flight Ops During Developmental Testing aboard USS Nimitz

On Nov. 3, F-35C CF-3 piloted by Navy test pilot Cmdr. Tony Wilson, conducted the very first arrested landing of the Joint Strike Fighter plane on a supercarrier.

Following the first successful arrested landings (the second came on the same day, with F-35C CF-5), the two jets of the F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, performed a series of catapult launches, touch-and-gos and arrested landings.

On Nov. 13, at 6:01 p.m. (PST), the JSF had another first when it was launched for the first carrier-based night flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). After a series of planned touch-and-go landings, the aircraft came for an arrested landing at 6:40 pm.

Here’s an interesting video of the first night ops aboard a U.S. Navy flattop.

Image credit: U.S. Navy


  • Michael

    During the first takeoff shown in the video, you can see the pilot activates the afterburner only after he has left the flight deck. In fact it’s so bright, it even illuminates the sea surface, as you can see in the video. Is that the usual takeoff procedure? I would imagine you would want full power output from the very beginning..?

    • Normally aircraft will take off with full burner but I’m guessing here based on the weight of the aircraft (i.e. completely unloaded except for a pilot and fuel), the enormous thrust of the P&W F135, and the F-35C’s extremely lift-friendly air frame it might not have been a requirement for the cat launch.

  • McPosterdoor

    Really strange seeing a single exhaust coming off a carrier deck.

    • ODM

      Must be too young to remember the F-8, A-4, and A-7

  • McPosterdoor

    I would hope the hook sits down now.

  • CLKane15

    Almost to a word(minus the new tech stuff) what everybody thought about the mighty F-4 Phantom………until it got into turning fights with MiG-17s over North Vietnam…….I hope the aircraft does well but just wanted to play devil’s advocate…..makes ya think

  • CLKane15

    The F-14D and the Super Hornet(in some configurations) launch(ed) using only full military power.

    • Adam Scott Richard

      -402 powered Hornets don’t need it either.