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F-35 Lightning II nails first vertical landing

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March 18, 2010

The Lockheed Martin F-35B begins descending to its first vertical landing March 18, 2010. ...

The Lockheed Martin F-35B begins descending to its first vertical landing March 18, 2010. (Lockheed Martin Photo by Damien A. Guarnieri)

The F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter has completed its first vertical landing. The Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) demonstration saw Lead Pilot Graham Tomlinson perform an 80-knot (93 miles per hour) short takeoff, a one minute hover and a vertical descent onto a 95-foot square pad riding more than 41,000 pounds of thrust provided by the Rolls-Royce LiftFan system.

“Today’s vertical landing onto a 95-foot square pad showed that we have the thrust and the control to maneuver accurately both in free air and in the descent through ground effect,” said F-35 Lead STOVL Pilot Graham Tomlinson.

“The low workload in the cockpit contrasted sharply with legacy short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) platforms. Together with the work already completed for slow-speed handling and landings, this provides a robust platform to expand the fleet’s STOVL capabilities.”

Designed to operate at sea or on shore, the F-35B is one of three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter. The conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A is the lightest and smallest version, while the F-35C is designed specifically for the Navy. The F-35B gives up some if its fuel capacity to incorporate the shaft-driven, counter-rotating LiftFan system which is driven by a single Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engine. The Rolls-Royce system includes a three-bearing swivel duct that vectors engine thrust and under-wing roll ducts for lateral stability.

Three F-35B STOVL jets are currently undergoing flight trials.

“The successful first vertical landing today met our test objectives and demonstrates the F-35B’s capacity to operate from a very small area – a unique capability for a supersonic, stealth fighter," said Doug Pearson, Lockheed Martin vice president. "This is the first of many such tests to fully define the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) characteristics of the world’s most capable 5th generation fighter. We will routinely conduct vertical landings and short takeoffs to further expand the operational flight envelope for the F-35B.

Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

Via: Lockheed Martin.

11 Comments

whats up with the music?

bio-power jeff
19th March, 2010 @ 04:27 am PDT

wow, kewl, we can whack more nearly starving and hopeless brown or yellow wedding parties from the air with our love. but what about that bush wall street bailout trillion and the can't buy-only-american stimulus trillion and can't have a public option 96 billion ... usa! usa! numb-er one! numb-er one! numb-er than anyone - pass the ky, i'm hot!

hourglass
19th March, 2010 @ 06:21 am PDT

Look, it's just a minor technical achievement to you, but Lockheed Martin deserves praise and thanks from all Americans and from all those who believe in our civilization for making this beast happen. The many careers 'wasted' making our firecrackers hotter, bigger and better than anybody else's firecrackers do provide us national defense (and offense) with world-beating competence. If we must have armies, navies, and such, I feel better knowing that ours will be better equipped than any opposition we may face in our lifetimes.

TogetherinParis
19th March, 2010 @ 07:08 am PDT

Everyone complains when we are the "world's police", but no complaints when we are the "world's EMT" When we send an Aircraft Carrier to a disaster stricken land. This is some info people don't know when they think of our military. Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. Remember, it is the protection of OUR military that allows the likes of Canada, France and others to have socialized medicine (which sucks), as they don't have to bankroll their own military for their protection!!

Leemaher
19th March, 2010 @ 07:52 am PDT

I have often wondered by they don't launch all fighter planes with a catapult, and land using an arrester hook, as on aircraft carriers. Then you don't need long runways. The necessary equipment is easily portable. These planes must cost a small fortune to buy (poor old American taxpayer). By the way, the American Constitution says: no man shall be taxed on his labour. Check this out!

windykites1
19th March, 2010 @ 07:56 am PDT

Aside from the fact that we built this plane to face an enemy that doesn't exist, the truly appalling fact is that it's TWICE as expensive to produce than Lockheed said it would. The fleecing of America rages on at the hands of the military/industrial complex.

lugnut
19th March, 2010 @ 11:09 am PDT

@windykites1,

Then you need catapult and an arrestor hook.

thk
19th March, 2010 @ 05:24 pm PDT

Oh.... ohh.... oohhhhhh damn that's a fine piece of machinery. :)

Why? Much as they cost etc etc buying and selling is what makes the economy move.

And these are cool!

Go America! lol.

Craig Jennings
20th March, 2010 @ 05:34 pm PDT

If military spending moved the economy ...you have communism here and all around. The steepest military spending ever. Dear old red comrades KNEW how to make people starve. I mean: starve.

They also had some cute toys. Really cute.

nehopsa
12th April, 2010 @ 07:18 pm PDT

Ok, nice. How is this aeroplane going to do better than the British Harrier ?

There are concerns about its ability to keep stability during VTOL operations.

In engineering, we all know that this type of hovering needs three point force application in order to keep stability.

A long time ago, around 1963, the Dassault Mirage Balzac did feature supersonic VTOL but they soon found the problem of having two major fuselage included engines and no third point. This F35B is just using similar trust configuration.

I know one BAE project engineer who confirmed to me that this airplane cannot achieve vertical take-off with full weapon load.

They should change the design to twin engine configuration like done in the F14 where you keep enough distance between trusts and of course one fan in the nose.

Good luck guys but you need to revise your copy.

laurentien
15th December, 2010 @ 05:25 am PST

But this aeroplane is not going to live up to its promises because of important errors in the design. It will not do better than the British Harrier which is still the best VTOL fighter or the even the French Balzac which was a true supersonic VTOL. As with the Balzac, this F35B will have important stability problems which may even kill some pilots.

laurentien
15th December, 2010 @ 05:52 am PST
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