US Marines Corps' VMFA-121 squadron flies first "operational" STOVL sortie
By Dave Majumdar on March 22, 2013 3:29 AM
The US Marine Corps' VMFA-121, the first "operational" Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II squadron, conducted its first short take-off vertical landing sortie at MCAS Yuma,..on 21 March.
Maj Richard Rusnok, a test pilot previously assigned to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, flew the unit's first short take-off and short landing. He also performed the first F-35B hover and vertical landing outside of flight-testing in aircraft BF-19. .... accompanied on his flight by VMFA-121 commanding officer Lt Col Jeffrey Scott, who was flying chase in a second F-35B.
"The first STOVL flight for an F-35B outside of the test environment was another milestone achieved by the Marine Corps and the Green Knights today here at MCAS Yuma," Scott says.
The USMC says VMFA-121 will grow over the next year or so to include about 300 personnel. It is also scheduled to receive a total of 16 F-35Bs before the end of 2013, the Marines say.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-64-_Db ... r_embedded