Paris Demo Will “Crush Years Of Misinformation” Says Lockheed Martin Demo Pilot As New F-35A Aerobatic Routine for PAS 2017 Is Revealed

Jun 19 2017 - 31 Comments
By Tom Demerly

“We are going to crush years of misinformation about what this aircraft is capable of doing”

After we scooped the story about the F-35A’s new fully aerobatic flight demonstration to be performed at this week’s Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport in France, Aviation Week reporter Lara Seligman wrote today in AW that Lockheed Martin company test and demo pilot Billie Flynn told her, “After 10 years since its first flight, with our first opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities and the maneuverability of the F-35, we are going to crush years of misinformation about what this aircraft is capable of doing,” during an interview for Aviation Week.

The flight demonstrations at the Paris Air Show will be flown by company pilot Billie Flynn, not U.S. Air Force crews.

The USAF F-35A demonstration aircraft to be flown in the flight demo and on static display at Paris were ferried to Europe by USAF crews even though the flying routing will be flown by a Lockheed Martin pilot.

Lockheed Martin is on an aggressive campaign to close sales for the F-35A among user-nations as confirmed by stories breaking this morning that report, “Lockheed Martin is in the final stages of negotiating a $37 billion-plus deal to sell 440 F-35 fighter jets to a group of 11 nations including the United States”, two people familiar with the deals told Reuters news agency.

Lara Seligman’s report for Aviation Week identifies both the “high show” F-35A flight demonstration routine and the “low show” routine performed at lower altitude in the event of overcast/cloudy weather conditions. A quick check of the weather forecast for the next five days in the skies above Le Bourget says conditions will be hot with high temperatures in the ‘90’s Fahrenheit and “Mostly Sunny” conditions with a small chance of rain.

The new, dynamic flight demo routine for F-35A at Paris beginning today. (Image: Lockheed Martin via Aviation Week)

Seligman quoted demo pilot Flynn as saying that, “The [Paris] flight demonstration is carefully scripted to highlight the kinematic capabilities of the F-35A, particularly its slow-speed handling qualities.” She reported that, “He will start with an afterburner takeoff, almost immediately pointing his nose to the sky and letting the aircraft climb away essentially vertically.” Flynn went on to mention tell reporter Seligman that, “This impressive move is unique to the F-22 and the F-35.”

Back in 2013, talking to Flight’s Dave Majumdar, the very same LM test pilot Bill Flynn claimed that all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter were to have better kinematic performance than any fourth-generation fighter plane with combat payload, including the Eurofighter Typhoon, a statement that was somehow “busted” by a Typhoon pilot who clearly explained The Aviationist “No way an F-35 will ever match a Typhoon fighter jet in aerial combat.”

Anyway, along with everyone else in the aviation world, we’re looking forward to the new, dynamic F-35A show debuting this week in Paris. The first F-35A demo at Paris flies today at 3:30 PM local time in France.

Top image: Today in Paris will be the first time airshow crowds get to see what the F-35A is capable of in demonstration flight. (Inverted file photo by Tom Demerly)

 

Salva

  • Matthis

    Come on, I was at the PAS in 2013 and saw the Su-35 do things the F-35 can’t even dream of… And I don’t even think the Typhoon can do better than the Russian fighter

    • leroy

      One thing the Su-35 will do better if it ever faces the F-35. Die!

    • Phil

      Matthis..you saw the SU-35 perform the “Cobra” manouever, and the F-35 is also capable of doing that trick, with aplomb, I’ve seen it done. You are also comparing apples to oranges, Matthis. The F-35 is going to be engaging Russian, or Chinese versions of this SU-35 at distances waaay out of visual range anyway..like 100 miles away, or more. The SU-35 would be a twisting, smoking pile of wingless junk heading for the “hard deck” long before it was even aware of the F-35’s existence. THAT is what the F-35 was designed for, not a close-in dog fight. And the SU-35 has an extremely poor range (wouldn’t want one to defect) so it’s likely they are ONLY a point-defense aircraft, incapable of travelling to an area from which the F-35 fires its missile.

      • Matthis

        Phil, I never said the Su-35 would destroy a F-35. I just say it’s stupid to say that this demonstration will “Crush Years Of Misinformation” as the aircraft is not THAT maneuverable compared to the Su-35. And the Su-35 is a 4th (4.5?) generation aircraft.
        I was comparing maneuverability (as the article does with the Typhoon), not the ability to destroy the opponent.

      • Ilya Kurenkov

        Sorry to say that, but you’re wrong at every point.
        Please keep in mind that supermaneuverability increases chances of avoiding incoming missile. Su-35 has very good chances to survive first attack, and then.. then F-35 turns into sitting duck.
        Range of Su-35 is 3.600 km, compared to 1,200 km of F/A-18. What about F-35? 1,400 km?
        Quite a huge point she can defend, isn’t she?
        Now I’d like to share with you something truly spectacular, enjoy:

        • Uniform223

          “Please keep in mind that supermaneuverability increases chances of avoiding incoming missile.”

          > Situational Awareness increases the chances of avoiding an incoming missile. Being “super-maneuverable” wont matter much when you’re expending energy to avoid a missile that just went active and all you have is 5-8 second to avoid it. All the back flips and turns wont matter much if you didn’t know it was coming in the first place.

          “Su-35 has very good chances to survive first attack, and then.. then F-35 turns into sitting duck”

          > that is not what pilots that have gone up against the F-22 are saying. Often times when they are engaged by the F-22, they didn’t even know they were targeted or even knew there was an F-22 in the area in the first place. The F-35 has better stealth and better sensors then the F-22. So no, I’m not convinced the Su-35 would be able to survive the first of anything against an F-22 or even the F-35.

          “Range of Su-35 is 3.600 km, compared to 1,200 km of F/A-18. What about F-35? 1,400 km?”

          > are we talking about ferry range or combat range? In an A-to-A config the F-35A has them rather impressive legs for something that has been called short ranged. 750nm is its maximum combat radius at optimal cruise speed and altitude.

          http://www.f-16.net/forum/download/file.php?id=24846&mode=view

          Sure the Su-35 has lots of internal fuel but it also has to carry external weapons which create parasitic drag which in turn reduce its maximum range.

          Yes the Su-35 is impressive at airshows but ask any pilot if their demonstration at airshows are indicative of what the aircraft can really or supposed to do. F-22 pilots often state (the ones that I’ve talked to) that what the F-22 can do at an airshow (pretty much the same of what an Su-35 can do… but better and cooler IMO) isn’t really what the F-22 is truly capable of. What the F-35 can kinematically do at an airshow is the least impressive thing about it. If what the Su-35 can do at an airshow its most impressive attribute (from an common civilian spectator), then what does that tell you about it when the least impressive thing about the F-35 is what it can do at an airshow?

          As former test pilot Jon Beesley (who retired on the F-35) stated…
          “We weren’t asked to build an airshow airplane, we were asked to build a combat airplane”

          • Ilya Kurenkov

            >Being “super-maneuverable” wont matter much when you’re expending energy to avoid a missile that just went active and all you have is 5-8 second to avoid it
            Not quite correct. Super-maneuverability gives better chances to change direction of flight/position in the air, and here is full 3D thrust vectoring does the job.
            Normally aircraft (and F-35) changes its position by extending control elements into air flow and thus increasing drag. This leads to loss of speed and energy. different story with 3DTV: you change direction of thrust, and aircraft just keeps accelerating, but in other direction.

            >Often times when they are engaged by the F-22, they didn’t even know they were targeted or even knew there was an F-22 in the area in the first place

            Could you please tell how F-22 targets its advisories?
            The thing is that every plane, even stealth, has to find, locate and lock it’s target. It has to use it’s radar, and at the moment radar is activated, stealth plane becomes as visible as any other plane.

            > are we talking about ferry range or combat range?
            Combat range. Su-35 has enormous internal fuel capacity. As far as I know, they never use external fuel tanks. External weapons will add to drag of course, but this is true for F-35: It’s internal weapon bays capacity is moderate to say the least. Two AMRAAMs? Oh, well..

            >If what the Su-35 can do at an airshow its most impressive attribute
            Well, Su-35 has optical tracking system, and can find and lock target without switching on its radar – something F-22 is missing, for a start.

            Of course, airshow demo is not something that every Su-35 pilot performs every day. But it shows capabilities. How fast Su-35 can change direction of flight, perform defensive maneuver, gain speed and height, seize the initiative in combat.

            > “We weren’t asked to build an airshow airplane, we were asked to build a combat airplane”
            Combat plane should fly well, otherwise it will be a sitting duck.

          • franciwzm

            Al31f (old engine with su30mki) is capable of 0,54km per litre t potimum subsonic speed; al41f (su35 engine) just 0,19km per litre…Typhoon is around 1,34 ,that is why comabat radious f typhoon without new confromal fuel tank s is rougly the same then su-35, probably more considering how draggy russian air to air weapons are and semirecessed typhoon bvr missiles position.

          • Ostap Bender

            SU-35 would fight over Russian aerospace with support of AA systems, that is the big difference you have to account to. Western MSM is feeding you Russia has expansionist policy, and they took Crimea only after CIA orchestrated coup.
            The USA has 20 TRILLION dollar debt, 1/3 of the whole world debt, 108% of GDP, and they are still spending on new military toys, making rich people and military industrial complex even richer (your late president, and a 5 star general Dwight D. Eisenhower warned you about it, and he was a military man).
            The US are responsible for world economic crisis in 2006 and we are still feeling the weight of it, and when you take a look at US economics, and the fact that China and Russia owns 42% of American foreign debt we can expect another world conflict, because they will never be able to repay 20 TRILLION dollars of national debt (every newborn baby owes 61.000$), and 60 TRILLION of total debt(211.000/capita)…
            But USA needed to pump 1,7 trillion dollars just in R&D of F-35…

        • franciwzm

          continous turn rate of suhkoys triplane design is bad in sueprsonic, very very very bad in supersonic; istantaneous turn rate is very good in subsonic, bad in supersonic; indian pilots claim that mirage 2000 is much more agile then su30mki in supersonic…SU-35 is just a draggy design able to losse speed and turn nose very sharply in subsonic, very bad in manteining enrging and momentum…

          • Ilya Kurenkov

            This is totally incorrect and unproven statement.

    • athensoh

      don’t forget that, probably, only few pilots flying Flankers could actually perform those impressive airshow-like tricks. In an ‘average pilot’ combat environment those tricks are much less valuable, compared to other aircraft and overall systems capabilities.

      • MariusZZ

        you’re absolutely right and i will tell you more, in russian air forces by instructions pilots don’t allow to switch off very high angle of attack capabilities due to high risk of lose control of the fighter plane … so like we understanding all this russian’s tricks is for air show to impress public and some countries like India and to spend billions for contracts and then to regret….

    • Uniform223

      “saw the Su-35 do things the F-35 can’t even dream of… And I don’t even think the Typhoon can do better than the Russian fighter”

      > because the F-35 was never meant to. A Typhoon CAN supercruise but all we’ve heard and read is that the SU-35 is capable of it (though its never been proven outside of Sukhoi pamphlet and advertisement). An F-35B can do a short take off and land vertically, an SU-35 can’t. Other aircraft can do what other aircraft can’t. So really, what point are you trying to make?

  • leroy

    Billie Flynn stated; ” … we are going to crush years of misinformation about what this aircraft is capable of doing,” He’s referring to WVR because we already know that F-35 is unbeatable in BVR combat. Guess what? It can readily kick ass if they choose to come close in. Say, a VID.

    No surprise here. Those who understand aerodynamics have always known F-35’s wings combined with its lifting body design, powerful engine and high-fidelity computerized flight controls would allow the plane to avail itself well in any visual range dogfight. Only the dummies, click-bait artists, peaceniks, paid RussiaChina trolls and malcontents have said otherwise.

    Oh all you aviation Emperors who wore no clothes. How thoroughly I enjoy laughing at you! Everyone’s good friend Leroy has been right all this time. I don’t accept your apologies.

  • leroy

    “No way an F-35 will ever match a Typhoon fighter jet in aerial combat.”

    Probably right, because truth be told Typhoon will never get close enough. Good thing for them we’re on the same side.

    Typhoon is a fine 4th gen fighter, but it’s time is quickly fading. If it was so good everyone would be buying it, but then one is forced to ask – why no sales? But still, it can beat anything Russia puts in the sky. Just can’t beat Sukhoi and MiG as well and fast as F-35 can. That’s the truth, and everyone knows it.

    Even F-14 faded into glory. Don’t ever stay in the ring for too long. Always gonna be a younger, better fighter that’s gonna come along and kick your ass!

  • Max Butched

    having seen the training of the demo, its exactly as it is supposed to be, slugging, low roll, in short, no eyesbrows were raised.

    • Phil

      Max Butched..In combat conditions at Nellis AFB’s Red Flag operations, the F-35 proved a kill ratio of 35 to 1. I wouldn’t say that was anywhere near sluggish, and its roll rate equals or exceeds those of the “Enemy” opposition forces flying against it (where they fly F-5’s, with a roll rate of 720 degrees per second (“head-banging” of the helmet on the cockpit glass).

      • Max Butched

        i see your point but its not related to what the pilot is saying. a demo like that focus on the equivalent of BFM manoeuvers, which he’s bad at.
        put it in a theater will fusion data, and that’s another story we agree on this.

  • omegatalon

    Software was what kept the F-35 from making high-G maneuvers and not the aircraft itself as they have not changed the design of the aircraft on the outside.. as it’s the software that have been updated to allow the pilot to take advantage of what the jet was designed to do.

  • anon_64

    I wonder how many people commenting actually saw it fly. If you understood what you were seeing, it was quite impressive.

  • Phil

    InklingBooks…actually, During WW-II, and during the Battle of Britain, where the Luftwaffe was losing badly, Goering asked his ME-109 pilots what they wanted from him to increase their kill ratio over the Britis. The answer that Goering got was unexpected, and recorded in the annals of history: :” Give us Spitfires !!”

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    This matches what the Norwegian pilot says what the F-35 can do in a dogfight. Namely do approx two sequential high AOA and yaw rate maneuvers to get a gun shot before they need to leave. Other’s argue that this covers the vast majority of probable encounters as most close encounters only last one or two maneuvers before someone is dead, or both sides disengage and run. It seems the F-35 may not be a turkey, but a collection of compromises with a few shining areas of performance that might give Western pilots enough of an edge to exploit against Russian and Chinese hardware.

  • Rob Annable

    “He will start with an afterburner takeoff, almost immediately pointing his nose to the sky and letting the aircraft climb away essentially vertically.” Flynn went on to mention tell reporter Seligman that, “This impressive move is unique to the F-22 and the F-35.”

    Can’t other aircraft fly vertically up? :/

  • Mali King

    Yes, it’s only a show. But air shows do give us vital clues about an aircraft’s kinematic performance which a fighter pilot can exploit to perform more realistic maneuvers in a combat environment . I bet you and your fellow two faced trolling ilk would probably praise the Flanker as the second coming based on its air show performance (to be fair……Flankers do have very reasonable kinematic performance….as demonstrated by these “useless” air shows) whilst downplaying the F35’s air show performance (as illustrated above). Anti F35 bias much?

    Wow, you mean only Lockheed Martin carefully choreograph/tune the F35A’s flight routine to impress at air shows. Damn, those other fighter aircraft manufacturers/defence contractors must so lax and unmotivated when it comes to their product’s air show routine. Get real!!! ALL fighter aircraft manufacturers/defence contractors carefully choreograph/tune their product’s air show routines to put their products in the best light. Not just Lockheed Martin (and the F35). Once again anti F35 bias much? Oh btw, after seeing the F35A’s Paris Air Show demonstration, the F35 will cope just fine even with the slightest alteration(s) of its airborne demonstration.

    Talking about long straight runs……do you know how large is the airspace above Le Bourget….let me give you a clue….it’s pretty f*****g restricted (relatively). In fact, it’s pretty impressive that the F35 could gain air speed/energy pretty efficiently (quickly) in the small airspace above Le Bourget. Oh yeah, fighter pilots in the past have flown at full chat on straight and relatively long runs to regain energy/air speed in real air combat. It’s called extending away from your adversary (in BVR, BFM/ACM). Did you know that during the Vietnam war, US F4 phantom pilots have flown their aircraft away from NVAF Migs at full chat on relatively straight long runs to regain energy/airspeed before pitching back into the fight (successfully too I might add). Fancy that! I thought an “authority” on air combat like yourself would know this. Hmmm…..I guess wrong then…..

    BTW the F35 does give the pilot physical sensations of the aircraft hitting its limits of maneuverability/performance just like the Spitfire. Awesome isn’t it. F35 = Spitfire = awesome :D

    You why other countries are keen to get the F35….its a bargain in light of its capabilities and these countries actually retain a real Air Force that can respond to a full spectrum of threats.

  • leroy

    From what I can see, F-35 has all the tools if needs to defeat any Sukhoi or MiG in WVR. And that’s with guns – not even counting AIM-120 cued off of the Gen III helmet. Of course at BVR where most aerial encounters would take place it’s really NO CONTEST. So tell me?

    What the hell are all you Su-35, MiG-35, PAK FA lovers talking about??? And why would anyone buy Gripen, which at $80M will cost the same price (Typhoon and Rafale is over $110M)? Answer? They won’t!

    Here’s comes that $37B Bulk Buy contact from 11 Partner Nations for 440 fighters. You have no answer for that, do you? You anti-JSF know-nothings were never more than circus clowns. Jesters of the stupidest sort! U.S. and NATO air superiority remains unchallenged.

    • franciwzm

      Typhoon is still much better defensive fighter in the world, as BAE still claims (british operate bioth f35 and typhoon)

  • rms

    I agree with Matthis, the F 35 can’t shine the F 35’s shoes. Performance wise, weapon wise, or cost wise. I will take 500 SU 35’s in a minute versus the non lethal F 35 which has1 bomb and 1 missile in each of its tiny side weapon bays. Compare the F22 which is in fact lethal and performs flawlessly and will kick an SU 35’s bottom. The Su 35 has 12 hard points.

  • Xavier Lameris

    I was there for the Paris airshow 2017. Before the F-35 there was a flight demonstration of the Rafale. So I saw the two flight in a short time difference. Result: the F-35 is just slow and has a low manoeuvrability in comparison of the Rafale….Not convinced by this expensive F-35 jet