Wings Magazine


The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II achieved another successful test flight today from the company's Fort Worth, Texas, facility.

September 19, 2007  By Carey Fredericks

FORT WORTH, Texas, January 8, 2007 — The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35 Lightning II achieved another successful test flight today from the companys Fort Worth, Texas, facility.

The F-35 Lightning II cruises over North Texas at 20,000 feet on Monday, Jan. 8. F-35 Chief Test Pilot Jon Beesley described the aircraft as "dazzling" as he put it through a battery of handling and propulsion tests on its second flight.

The maturity of this highly integrated aircraft for its second flight is dazzling – when its time to fly it is always ready and takes minimal time to get out of the chocks, said Jon Beesley, F-35 Chief Test Pilot. The flight underscores that the Lightning II flies just as our engineers predicted. This was the first time that we have retracted the landing gear and the aircraft handling qualities were outstanding. I continue to be impressed by this marvellous airplanes performance and handling characteristics.

Approximately 10 minutes into the flight, Beesley retracted the landing gear and climbed from 15,000 to 20,000 feet to evaluate handling qualities and engine operation in the cruise mode at Mach 0.6 (~ 450 m.p.h.) and Mach 0.7 (~ 530 m.p.h.). The handling tests included rolls, turns, angle-of-attack changes and engine throttle changes. The flight lasted 62 minutes and was executed exactly as planned. It followed the aircrafts successful first flight on Dec. 15, when the F-35 demonstrated unprecedented engine performance and handling qualities.


With this successful flight and its broad array of test points, F-35 flight test has really begun, said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. The ease of starting and flying this aircraft is a reflection of the quality of the team who designed and built it.

The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5TH Generation stealth fighter designed to replace a wide range of existing aircraft, including AV-8B Harriers, A-10s, F-16s, F/A-18 Hornets and United Kingdom Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers.

Lockheed Martin is developing the Lightning II with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.


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