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F-35A remains grounded following fire

wp-imageJuly 2, 2014, – It is supposed to be the headliner of the show next month, when the most expensive fighter jet ever built makes its international debut in England. There will be plenty of other planes at the Farnborough Air Show, but none will get as much attention as the F-35 Lightning II, the futuristic, sleek and stealthy jet that proponents say is unparalleled in the history of human flight.


July 2, 2014
By The Washington Post

July 2, 2014, – It is supposed to be the headliner of the show next month, when the most expensive fighter jet ever built makes its international debut in England. There will be plenty of other planes at the Farnborough Air Show, but none will get as much attention as the F-35 Lightning II, the futuristic, sleek and stealthy jet that proponents say is unparalleled in the history of human flight.

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 The F-35 Lightning II during the test phase. This is the variant that would be used aboard aircraft carriers. (US Navy/US NAVY)


But this week, an F-35A, the Air Force’s variant of the much-
heralded plane, caught fire, forcing the pilot to abort takeoff. It led to the suspension of scores of training flights across the country as investigators scramble to figure out what went wrong.

The fire in the rear of the plane, which was doused by emergency crews at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida on Monday and resulted in no injuries, was the second problem in the past two months. In June, an oil leak discovered by a pilot in flight led to another suspension of flights.

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While Pentagon officials say the F-35 is still expected to make its appearance overseas next month, and some of the planes returned to flight status Friday, the problems have sowed even more doubt about a program that was for years over budget and behind schedule. And it comes as the manufacturer, Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, is trying to sell the jet to international clients in an effort to keep production costs down as U.S. defense spending tightens. | READ MORE