First ‘jump’ for the F-35B

Test Pilot Pete ‘Wizzer’ Wilson from BAE Systems became the first ever pilot to launch the Lockheed Martin F-35B Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant from a ski-jump on Friday 19 June. The launch took place from a land based ski jump at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland  and marks the start of an initial testing phase expected to last two weeks.

The trials demonstrate the aircraft’s ability to take off safely and effectively from a ski-jump ramp similar to that which will be used on the UK’s new aircraft carrier. The United States Marine Corps’ F-35B will operate from carriers without the jump.

According to Wilson, the jet performed as expected. Engineers in the UK   will use the data from the flight trialsto further improve the models used in simulation. BAE Systems claims is it developing a simulator that allows pilots and engineers to train to fly the F-35 from the deck of the Queen Elizabeth carrier before either are available.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top) Clearing the jump! (Image © BAE Systems)