First Transatlantic Crossing

Posted 8 February 2016
Photo by Andy Wolfe

An Italian Air Force, or Aeronautica Militare, pilot carried out the first transatlantic crossing by an F-35A Lightning II on 4-5 February 2016, flying from Cameri AB, Italy, via Lajes AB in the Azores to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The F-35A (AM serial number MM7332), the first aircraft fully built overseas at the Cameri final assembly and check-out facility, was piloted across by the first AM F-35 pilot, Maj. Gian Marco D. (last name withheld). The aircraft will begin three months of electromagnetic environmental effects evaluation and certification at Pax River. The aircraft will then join the F-35 international pilot training fleet at Luke AFB, Arizona, in May. The two-phase deployment required a total of eleven flight hours, enabled by an Italian Air Force KC-767 tanker, which refueled the aircraft seven times during the ocean crossing.