October 23, 2008 (by SrA Julius Delos Reyes) - The prototype F-35 Joint Strike Fighter AA-1 completed an air start test at Edwards on Oct. 23, marking the first time the aircraft arrived here.
An F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, marked AA-1, lands at an Edwards runway October 23, 2008.
The testing validated the aircraft's ability to shut down and restart its engine in flight ensuring the aircraft can regain power and be flown safely in the event of an unanticipated engine flameout.
Integrated Test Force showed the test points to 20 members of the local, national and international presses during an F-35 media day, the same day.
"It is a great day at Edwards," said Col. William Thornton, 412th Test Wing commander. "It is a great day for our country and our friends, allies and partners around the globe. The F-35 is a significant increase in combat capability, but more importantly, it will provide America's crucial dominance in air power."
According to Doug Pearson, Lockheed Martin vice president of the F-35 Integrated Force, the test at Edwards is a beginning of the "largest flight test program in history." The aircraft arrived here Oct. 1 from Lockheed Martin's plant at Fort Worth, Texas.
"This is the most comprehensive flight test program ever assembled," Mr. Pearson said. "We performed the test here because we needed to understand how we can support this complex piece of machinery. We also needed to understand how our team, both contractor and government, can function."
Edwards was the logical choice for the air start testing because of its "unmatched combination of location, facilities and people," said Colonel Thornton.
"Its remote location allows us to test advanced aerospace vehicle safely," he said. "We have miles and miles of lakebed runways. But of course, our greatest treasure is our people. There is no finer group to conduct this flight testing. With this testing, we continue to learn how great an aircraft the F-35 JSF is. This is a result of years of work."