VIDEO: F-35 (finally) passes vertical landing test

Today was a very big day for the F-35 program. It’s true that the first vertical landing of a F-35B flight test aircraft is merely another test point, one among thousands. But it’s a really big, single test point.

And, most importantly, it’s a rare moment of victory after a six-week series of very public setbacks. Since February 1, we have learned the program is at least 13 months further behind schedule, initial operational capability for the US Air Force will come another two years later, and the cost of each aircraft now averages more than $100 million.

The vertical landing itself occurred about nine to 10 months later than the latest previous schedule, and a couple years late compared to the original schedule.

But the event also shows that Lockheed is making progress, albeit ever so slowly. It is not insignificant that the BF-1 flight test aircraft has flown three times in two days. Each aircraft is expected to average 12 sorties per month at peak rate. It will be at least another year before Lockheed proves the 14 aircraft in the test fleet can demonstrate the flight test sortie rate achieved by previous programmes, including the F-22 and F/A-18E/F.

At that time, Lockheed executive vice president Tom Burbage told reporters today, “we’ll be able to get a really good lock on whether we can achieve these kind of legacy type rates, and we think we will.”


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7 Responses to VIDEO: F-35 (finally) passes vertical landing test

  1. nico 19 March, 2010 at 2:48 am #

    Who thought it was a good idea to play that stupid music should be fired.

    Anyways, very little exhaust and dust as far as I can tell. We have been hearing horror stories about engine exhaust damage,etc… this shows that F35B can land vertically on a runway. Also I’m no Harrier pilot but F35B does seem to come down in a more controlled/stable attitude compared to the the Harrier.
    Harrier always seemed to me to dance around a lot.

  2. aeroxavier 19 March, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    good but how many year USA have the technology for that? 30-40 years? this is not one progress.
    this is one good point for give to future buyer, “see we progress, f-35 would be good an ready” …one day
    todaye, f-35 would be accelerate and NEED be “ready” in time. but all fly test who was don’t make before the production , is going to make by client. but if probs was detected that can make new problem.
    look the hundreds f-18 who have prob in navy (they are not new but this is not normal).
    export country don’t have the budget for buy the number of plane previewd

  3. WilsonAir 19 March, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    Well said, aeroxavier!

  4. jetcal1 19 March, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    No doubt true. Perhaps we should have hired the managers from the A400M and A380 programs who were developing technologies going all the way back to the WWII German swept wing technolgy.

    Also, as an ex-F-18 guy, I am curious as the problems you alluded to. All the problems that I saw were caused almost solely by high utilization rates. That is, we were wearing the airplanes out.

  5. Obamanite 19 March, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Hey, aeroxavier, all your base are belong to us?

  6. Keturah Hajek 24 July, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    Electronics are the greatest things in the world. Be sure to patent any product idea or invention you come up with. So that noone copies any of your ideas.

  7. kathy 4 September, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    He needs help… ’nuff said. – Kat

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