First night time vertical landing for F-35B


April 8, 2013

The F-35B comes in for its first night time vertical landing

The F-35B comes in for its first night time vertical landing

Image Gallery (2 images)

After making its first successful vertical landing in 2010 and the first at sea in 2011 ā€“ both in the clear light of day ā€“ an F-35B Lightning II last week completed the first short takeoff and vertical landing under cover of darkness.

The April 2 test mission was piloted by Marine Corps test pilot Maj. C.R. Clift and took place at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland. The mission is one of a series of events being conducted in the lead up to the second of three scheduled at-sea test periods for the F-35B.

This is the warfighter variant that is intended for use by the U.S. Marine Corps and international partners in the U.K. and Italy. Its short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) capabilities are designed to enable the aircraft to provide air support for amphibious ships, ski-jump aircraft carriers and expeditionary airfields.

The successful flight test comes in the wake of a complete grounding of the entire F-35 fleet on February 22nd by the U.S. Department of Defense after a cracked turbine blade was discovered in a F-35A at Edwards Air Force Base. The grounding was lifted less than a week later when an investigation concluded that the cracks werenā€™t a fleetwide problem but the result of stressful testing for that particular engine.

The first night time vertical landing can be seen in the video below.

Source: Pratt & Whitney

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

I still think they should have extended the RnD period and made less expensive prototypes. The excessive amount of first ones to be made that then had to have expensive upgrades could have made either how many schools or how many more body armour for soldiers?

Ben O'Brien

That's pretty impressive! You won't be landing it in a field or on any unprepared surface by the look of it though.


in all this time and all that money this is the first time. wow


re; Ben Tumaru O'Brien

Extended RnD and the changing of the requirements that it allows is reasons that the program is so expensive.


This is a Harrier, I'm sure it has new software and should faster, but it's a Harrier. Look at the door opening on top behind the cockpit, jet thrust aims downward and the plane goes up.. I want to see an antigravity space fighter place. That's when we stop fighting each other and start working together.


re; Gargamoth

Just as soon as you explain how to manipulate gravity let the rest of us know so we can build anti-gravity drives until then were stuck with thrust from jets of air to achieve vertical lift in a high speed aircraft.


re: Slowburn

Based on physics research finally discovering the Higgs Boson it is only a matter of time before it can be determined as to how it can be manipulated to reduce an object's mass. It will probably not happen in my lifetime but I've been pleasantly surprised before. :)

Craig Burkett

re; warren52nz

It prefers a hard surface and for more than just an emergency landing will use prepared fields but the steel to build the temporary field can be dumped out of a single C-130 flight.

re; Craig Burkett

I have not seen any evidence that the Higgs Boson will lead to anything but a more powerful collider.


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