Saturday, July 16, 2011

AirForces Monthly 2010-08

Lockheed martin passed another milestone in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter programme on June 6, when the first F-35C carrier variant for the US Navy made its maiden flight from NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. Prototype CF-01 got airborne at 1146hrs for a 57-minute flight in the hands of experienced Lockheed Martin test pilot Jeff Knowles, a retired US Navy pilot who flew F-14A and F-14D Tomcats operationally and served as chief test pilot on the F-117 stealth fighter programme. CF-01 had been rolled-out with great fanfare in a ceremony at Fort Worth almost a year ago, on July 28, 2009 (see US Navy F-35C Joint Strike Fighter Unveiled, September 2009, p4). At that time it was anticipated that the F-35C would make its first flight in late 2009, but late delivery of some of the final components and the need to make some last-minute design changes combined to considerably delay the aircraft getting into the air. The maiden flight had then finally been set for June 2, but during preparations some minor wiring problems were discovered which necessitated pushing back the sortie by several days while these were rectified.