The F-35 Flight Test Update in the Volume 28, Number 2 issue of Code One concluded with the 500th vertical landing of an F-35B on 3 August 2013. This twelfth installment in the series of flight test updates on the F-35 program covers the successful second phase of shipboard testing for the F-35B, the beginning of high angle of attack testing for the F-35C, plus other major achievements of the F-35 Integrated Test Force located at the Air Force Test Center at Edwards AFB, California, and at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division test facility at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.
F-35B BF-1 and BF-5 land on the USS Wasp (LHD-1) for a second session of shipboard testing called Development Testing II. See related article in Volume 28, Number 3 issue of Code One.
Sqdn. Ldr. Jim Schofield, a Royal Air Force test pilot, became the first international pilot to conduct a sea-based launch and landing in the F-35B.
Marine Corps test pilot Maj. C. R. Clift completed the first shipboard vertical landing at night for an F-35B. The landing occurred during developmental tests aboard the USS Wasp.
F-35C CF-5 was flown for the first time with the spin recovery chute in preparation for high angle of attack testing. The initial test flight with the system was flown by Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Canin from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.
Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Patrick Moran completed the first F-35C air-to-air refueling from a drogue-equipped Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight off eastern Maryland. The flight, which originated at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, was the 217th flight in the first F-35C carrier variant test aircraft, designated CF-1. All three variants of the F-35 are now qualified to refuel from a KC-135.
The second session of F-35B shipboard testing on the Wasp called Development Testing II was completed. The testing involved F-35B BF-1 and BF-5.
BAE test pilot Peter Kosogorin achieved maximum angle of attack when he took F-35C CF-5 to fifty degrees during a test flight from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.
Lockheed Martin chief test pilot Al Norman flew F-35C CF-8 to Edwards AFB, California, from Fort Worth, Texas. The aircraft joined eight other F-35A and F-35B aircraft at the Integrated Test Force at Edwards.
F-35C CF-3 completed fourteen catapult launches in one month. The testing occurred on the TC-7 steam catapult system at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.
The F-35 Lightning II program surpassed 10,000 flight hours. More than half of the total hours were accumulated since October 2012. This milestone was achieved by operational production aircraft operating from Eglin AFB, Florida; MCAS Yuma, Arizona; and F-35 System Development and Demonstration and Operational Test aircraft operating at Edwards AFB, California; NAS Patuxent River, Maryland; and Nellis AFB, Nevada. Almost half of the total hours were accumulated by production aircraft.
Air Force test pilot Lt. Col. Brent Reinhardt was at the controls of F-35A AF-4 for a departure resistance test flight at 20,000 feet—the lowest altitude to date.
Navy Capt. Justin Carlson performed the first F-35C weapon separation by releasing a GBU-12 from F-35C CF-2. The flight originated from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.
US government test pilot Vince Caterina was at the controls of F-35A AF-1 for the first pit test of the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb. The tests, all drops from the internal weapon bay, were conducted at the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards AFB, California.
Marine Corps Maj. Richard Rusnok was at the controls of F-35B BF-17 for the first guided weapon delivery from an F-35. Rusnok used the Electro-Optical Targeting System, or EOTS, to guide a GBU-12 Paveway II to a specified ground target after releasing the weapon from the internal weapon bay of the F-35. The GBU-12 is a 500-pound Mk-82 general-purpose bomb mated with a nose-mounted laser seeker and flight guidance fins for precision strike. The test mission was conducted from Edwards AFB, California.
The F-35 program executed its first live-fire launch of a guided air-to-air missile over the test range off the California coast. The AIM-120 AMRAAM was launched from F-35A operating from the F-35 Integrated Test Facility at Edwards AFB, California. The pilot, Air Force Capt. Logan Lamping, launched the AIM-120 from the F-35’s internal weapon bay against an aerial drone target. The drone was identified and targeted using the aircraft’s mission systems sensors. After launch, the missile successfully acquired the target and followed an intercept flight profile.