Pilot completes first F-35 vertical landing for RAF
June 5, 2013, Patuxent River, Md. - Squadron Leader Jim Schofield became the first Royal Air Force pilot to complete a vertical landing of a Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) Lightning II on May 28. Following the flight, Schofield commented on the F-35B’s handling capabilities.
“The F-35 has truly revolutionised STOVL flying,” said Schofield. “With legacy types, such as Harrier, the pilot was always working hard to land the aircraft onto a hover pad or ship. Now with F-35B, at the press of a button the aircraft transforms into ‘short take-off or vertical landing’ mode whereupon the aircraft can take off or hover hands-off. This means pilots will require less training and operating the aircraft will be much safer than legacy types. It’s a fantastic aircraft to fly.”
The U.S. Marine Corps plans to declare Initial Operational Capability with the STOVL in 2015.