One year ago on 18 March, Graham Tomlinson notched the first vertical landing of the Lockheed Martin F-35B, a milestone hailed then as proving the most troublesome of the F-35's three variants had turned a corner.
Events have not entirely gone to plan. In the 12 months since, the F-35B has been grounded from flight tests, cracked during ground tests, cancelled by one customer and placed on two-year probation by another. Yet, supporters of the short take-off and vertical landing variant remain unwavering in their confidence that - despite the declared doubters, which now include the UK Royal Navy and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates - the problems are already being overcome.
Backing the supporters is a resurgence of vertical landings - the key test for a STOVL fighter. After making only 10 landings in roughly the first six months after 18 March, the programme's test pilots have recorded nearly 50 in the past six months.
In recent interviews, Lockheed officials have candidly described the F-35B's four critical flaws, along with their plans for addressing them.