F-35A Filmed Rehearsing Its New Flight Demonstration Routine In Preparation For Paris Air Show 2017

Jun 12 2017 - 18 Comments
By Tom Demerly

F-35A Aerobatic Rehearsal for Paris.

U.S. Air Force F-35A “AF-78” tail number 13-5072 from the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB, Utah performed a low show aerial demonstration practice for the 2017 Paris Airshow, near Fort Worth, Texas, earlier this month.

Aviation photographer Caulun Belcher of Texas shot the video of the F-35A rehearsing its new flight demonstration routine in Texas in preparation for the upcoming Paris Air Show next week at Le Bourget Airport in north Paris, France, from June 19-25.

We reported back on May 19 that restrictions for aerobatics imposed on the F-35A during the 2016 airshow season had likely been relaxed or lifted altogether. This video suggests a complete removal of aerobatic restrictions.

The F-35A flight demonstrations in Paris and presumably this aerobatic rehearsal in Texas are flown by Lockheed/Martin test pilots, not USAF pilots. A report suggested U.S. Air Force crews would fly the two demonstration aircraft to France for the Paris Air Show.

Video of the F-35A flight demonstration shows an all-new flight demo routine for the U.S. Air Force F-35A: the aircraft enters the demonstration box in the video from left of show center in the landing configuration and performs a touch and go.

The F-35A then performs a right and left aileron roll, a new feature in the flight demo from the previous year. Repositioning from right the aircraft repeats the aileron rolls as if to emphasize its roll rate. The aircraft executes several more complete aileron rolls and flat turns with the trademark F-35A vapor streaming from its wingtips and wing roots under tight radius turns. The demo pilot appears to be enjoying ringing the aircraft out like we’ve never seen at an F-35A demo.

Caulun Belcher’s excellent video of the F-35A demonstration practice and some of his outstanding still photos were shared on YouTube and on the Facebook page for his aviation photography.

We’re looking forward to more F-35A flight demo photos and video from Paris this coming weekend, meanwhile enjoy this preview:

Top image credit: Caulun Belcher photo of a USAF F-35A rolling inverted in Texas while rehearsing for Paris Air Show.

  • leroy

    Some anti-F35 trolls have speculated that the JSF would be a no-show at Paris because of this insignificant problem out of Luke (and only Luke – that tells you something). Drop the hate boys and girls. F-35 will be there! I’m very glad too because I want all of the European public to see this groundbreaking fighter. After all, Italy, the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Norway are all onboard to buy it. Finland and Poland have expressed strong interest. So has Germany. Guess what? In about 10 years all European air forces will be flying F-35. All except for France and Sweden, for obvious reasons. But that’s OK. Gripen and Rafale can take care of the low-end fight.

  • leroy

    Looks like this won’t be a 9g airshow. They have to fully install 3f software. Don’t worry though. 3F has completed testing. Soon enough you’ll get to see an airshow with the JSF flying its full flight envelope. Then, the clueless critic’s jaws will drop. “My God, I didn’t know it could do that”! 9gs baby. It’s on the way.

  • leroy

    Outstanding! The last thing a Russian fighter pilot would ever want to get is a visual on an F-35. Don’t worry though. Mercifully that will never happen.

  • Mixelflick

    I’d call that F-16 like agility. Would love to see more of the Super Hornet like nose pointing authority, as the stats read it’s capable of 50 degree angle of attack. Break out the post/stall stuff and really put the exclamation point on it.

    Then, you won’t ever hear the words “the F-35 handles like a dog” again..

  • Uniform223

    Incoming Sukhoi fan-boys and F-35 haters/critics…

    • Cocidius

      No I’m just underwhelmed after seeing many F-22 performances that blow this out of the water. I’m happy though to see them taking the training wheels off finally.

  • Uniform223

    Cool beans. I’m not expecting something like the F-22 or Su-35 but in either case I am happy to see the flight restrictions being lifted. I wonder however if these aircraft are using a modified or early version of a block 3F flight control law software.

    Whats interesting is that at the 1:33 mark the F-35 does a sustained AoA maneuver. I was hoping to see some pedal turns. F-35 pilots in an interview noted that the F-35 has a lot of control authority and maneuverability from using its pedals.

  • Chugs 1984

    this one sounds way quieter than previous F-35A flights that i’ve seen.

  • Aztec01

    Yeah! Congratulations Caulun! This is the second place I’ve seen host your video! Awesome! Keep up the great work and see you at the Plaza again soon!

  • Bertrand Violette

    Many rolls at a non spectacular rate, all ending mildhy.
    Very few vertical maeuvers, if no one.
    Flight controls of the F-35 look poor on that video.
    Nothing here to be shown at an air show, except the fact that it’s a F-35!

    • Viper550ful .

      It’s a low show. Ever been to airshows? Doubt it.

      • flyr

        It also looks like testing different maneuvers. The video is something like 11 minutes while the show, as I recall is 5 minutes from brake release. As others noted it looks like maneuvers to be performed in a low show.

      • Bertrand Violette

        Let’s see what the F-35 will perform at Paris Air Show…

      • Bertrand Violette

        I will add that it’s a flat show, not a low show! :)

      • flyr

        It also looks like practice of individual components of the show with repitition. The actual show is only 5 min and the tape 11 min .

      • Bertrand Violette

        Low show doesn’t mean flat show!

  • Bertrand Violette

    F–35’s solo display training (not low), at Le Bourget 2017. No comment!

    • Thomas Leor

      Holy, fucking Christ. Now that was a demo for soar eyes :)