Overview of F-35 test flights

Production milestones, roll-outs, test flights, service introduction and other milestones.
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neptune

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Unread post05 Mar 2012, 17:05

AF-14 First Flight

Lockheed Martin test pilot Bill Gigliotti flew the ninth production model of the F-35 Lightning II, F-35A AF-14 (Air Force serial number 09-5001), on its inaugural flight on 2 March 2012 from NAS Fort Worth JRB. The aircraft is the first produced under the third Low Rate Initial Production contract. :)
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Unread post05 Mar 2012, 17:07

AF-15 First Flight
Lockheed Martin test pilot Al Norman flew the tenth production model of the F-35 Lightning II, F-35A AF-15 (Air Force serial number 09-5002), on its inaugural flight on 3 March 2012 from NAS Fort Worth JRB. The aircraft is the second produced under the third Low Rate Initial Production contract.

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Unread post27 Mar 2012, 20:15

F-35B BF-10 First Flight
Lockheed Martin test pilot Bill Gigliotti flew F-35B BF-10 (Navy Bureau Number 168061), on its inaugural flight on 15 March 2012 from NAS Fort Worth JRB. The aircraft will be assigned to VMFAT-501 at Eglin AFB, Florida.

F-35B BF-11 First Flight
Lockheed Martin test pilot Al Norman flew F-35B BF-11 (Navy Bureau Number 168062), on its inaugural flight on 21 March 2012 from NAS Fort Worth JRB. The aircraft will be assigned to VMFAT-501 at Eglin AFB, Florida.
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Unread post27 Mar 2012, 20:17

First Aerial Refueling At Night

The F-35 flight test program aerial refueled for the first time at night on 22 March 2012. USAF Lt. Col. Peter Vitt was the pilot for the flight from Edwards AFB, California. The mission, which lasted 3.1 hours, marked Flight 103 for F-35A AF-4. The aircraft was refueled from an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker.
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Unread post06 Apr 2012, 14:17

Navy Test Pilot Knows His ABCs Lexington Park, MD - April/5/2012
http://www.thebaynet.com/news/index.cfm ... y_ID/27026
OR
http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=4964

"...On March 23, Lt. Christopher Tabert completed the government acceptance flight for AF-14, a production-level F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) for the U.S. Air Force.

In doing so, he became the only military test pilot to fly the A, B and C versions of the F-35, said Marine Corps Col. Art Tomassetti, vice commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, Air Education and Training Command at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla....

...“The ability for a pilot to move seamlessly across the F-35 variants really puts the ‘Joint’ in JSF,” Tomassetti said. “We’ll be able to leverage the capability in training and in future joint operations.”

For Tabert, the differences between the models are slight.

“The flying qualities of the A felt a lot like the B and C,” Tabert said. “You really can’t tell much of a difference between the three from the cockpit.”

Even though Tabert started testing the F-35 only nine months ago, he already has a number of milestones on the aircraft under his belt: the first steam catapult launch; the first weapons pit drop for an inert 1,000 pound GBU-32 GPS-guided bomb; a supersonic flight; and the first launch from the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System."...

VIDEO [captions]: http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... E9C213A6B0

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... ke76DI5iNw
RAN FAA A4G: http://tinyurl.com/ctfwb3t http://tinyurl.com/ccmlenr http://www.youtube.com/user/bengello/videos
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Unread post27 Apr 2012, 07:08

I guess some actual numbers will appear soon - binawhile. :D

Lockheed Martin (LMT) Q1 2012 Earnings Call April 26, 2012

http://seekingalpha.com/article/533741- ... transcript

"...Finally, let me turn to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Year-to-date, performance in the flight test program is ahead of plan. On the conventional takeoff and landing aircraft, we are slightly ahead of plan for both the number of flights conducted and the number of test points earned. On the short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft, we are ahead of plan by about 60% on flights and about 22% on test points earned. And on the carrier variant, we're also ahead of plan by about 31% on flights and 32% on test points earned...."
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Unread post02 May 2012, 23:38

Some numbers...

P&W Delivers 50th F135 Engine for the F-35 JSF 03 May 2012

http://www.asdnews.com/news-42495/P&W_D ... 35_JSF.htm

"...To date [03 May 2012], the F135 propulsion system has powered more than 330 vertical landings, 2,000 test flights producing more than 3,000 flight hours...."
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Unread post08 May 2012, 19:58

Lockheed Martin Corporation : F-35 Lightning II Flight Test Update May/08/2012

http://www.4-traders.com/LOCKHEED-MARTI ... -14317640/
OR
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/p ... -test.html

"FORT WORTH, Texas, May 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin's [NYSE: LMT] F-35 Lightning II flight test program continues to make progress during the first four months of 2012. In March, the program completed 123 test flights totaling 223 flight hours, setting a record for the most System Development and Demonstration (SDD) flights and flight hours for a single month.

During the time period, the SDD fleet surpassed the 15,000 total test point threshold, completing approximately 25 percent of the SDD program's entire requirement of more than 59,000 test points. Overall the F-35 test program remains ahead of the 2012 flight test plan, which calls for the accumulation of 1,001 test flights and 7,873 baseline test points as well as additional points beyond the original plan.

Through April 30, the program completed 373 flights against a plan of 281 and achieved 2,810 test points - 2,307 of which were baseline points earned against a plan of 2,151. At Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., 30 local area orientation flights were completed totaling 39.5 flight hours as progress toward F-35 pilot training checkout continues.

Another aspect of flight testing is the progressive check out of the latest version of mission system software known as Block 2A. To date, more than 90 percent of Block 2A airborne software code is complete with more than 85 percent of that code currently being flight or lab tested. Block 2A flight test is being conducted at Edwards AFB and will continue through this year. Block 2A is scheduled for "ready for training" in the summer of 2013.

"The 2012 F-35 flight test program execution continues to build momentum," said Orlando Carvalho, F-35 executive vice president and general manager. "From flight envelope expansion to night refueling to external weapons testing, our flight test program is off to a good start this year. We are working to build on this success and deliver unprecedented 5th generation fighter performance capabilities - including radar-evading stealth, supersonic speed, extreme agility and the most comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history - to our Armed Forces and allies."

The F-35 program has accomplished many flight test, production and training milestones since Jan. 1:

-- On Jan. 17, demonstrating the ongoing maturation of the F-35 integrated sensor suite, AF-3, an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) test jet, completed the first low Distributed Aperture System (DAS) approach.

-- On Jan. 18, the first night flight in the history of the F-35 program was completed at Edwards AFB, Calif.

-- On Feb. 16, at Edwards AFB, Calif., AF-1, an F-35A CTOL test jet, flew the first external weapons test mission in F-35 program history.

-- On March 6, the 33d Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., flew its first local F-35 Lightning II sortie, marking a major milestone.

-- On March 22, AF-4, an F-35A CTOL jet, completed the first night refueling mission when it successfully connected to an Air Force KC-135 tanker and received fuel through the F-35's boom receptacle.

-- On March 28, BF-4, an F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) test jet based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., completed the first F-35 flight with two unarmed air intercept missiles known as AIM-120 Instrumentation Measurement Vehicles (IMVs). The IMVs are used to measure environmental influences such as temperature, vibration and acoustics of the aircraft on the weapon to ensure they do not impact the weapon's ability to be carried and employed by the aircraft.

-- On April 1, the first F-35 Lightning II for the Netherlands rolled out of the F-35 production facility. The Netherlands will use this CTOL jet, known as AN-1, for training and operational tests for pilots and maintainers.

-- On April 5, the program completed in-flight refueling of an F-35B STOVL while configured with external weapons at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The mission tested the flying qualities of the aircraft while maneuvering with external weapons.

-- On April 10, two F-35A CTOLs from the 33d Fighter Wing assigned to Eglin AFB, Fla., completed the unit's first formation flight. The mission was part of a continuing process to validate pilot syllabus objectives in preparation for future training.

-- On April 11, an F-35A CTOL from the 33d Fighter Wing assigned to Eglin, AFB, Fla., completed the unit's first air-to-air refueling mission with a KC-135R Stratotanker.

-- On April 13, BK-1, the United Kingdom's first F-35 Lightning II production aircraft, flew its inaugural flight. The U.K. Ministry of Defence will use this short takeoff/vertical landing jet for training and operational tests at Eglin AFB, Fla., beginning later this year.

-- On April 18, for the first time, two F-35C Lightning II carrier variant test aircraft launched together and conducted formation flying at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The mission tested flying qualities of the aircraft while taking off, landing and flying in formation for more than one hour.

-- On April 21, the program completed the first in-flight refueling of F-35A CTOL aircraft while configured with external weapons at Edwards AFB, Calif. The two-hour mission tested the flying qualities of the aircraft while maneuvering with external weapons.

Cumulative flight test activity totals for 2012 through April 30 are provided below:

-- F-35A CTOL jets have flown 164 times.

-- F-35B STOVL aircraft have completed 122 flights, 114 of which began with a short takeoff. Additionally, F-35B STOVL aircraft have conducted 49 vertical landings.

-- F-35C carrier variant (CV) jets have flown 87 times.

Cumulative flight test activity totals for the duration of the program through April 30 are provided below:

-- F-35A CTOL jets have flown 811 times.

-- F-35B STOVL aircraft have completed 711 flights, 533 of which began with a short takeoff. F-35B STOVL aircraft have also conducted 328 vertical landings.

-- F-35C CV jets have flown 279 times.

Since December 2006, F-35s have flown 2,066 times and accrued more than 3,000 cumulative flight hours. This total includes 91 flights from the original test aircraft, AA-1; 1,801 SDD test flights; and 174 production-model flights. For video highlights of the F-35 program."
https://www.f35.com/building-the-f-35/t ... tests.aspx
RAN FAA A4G: http://tinyurl.com/ctfwb3t http://tinyurl.com/ccmlenr http://www.youtube.com/user/bengello/videos
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Unread post17 May 2012, 05:03

http://www.codeonemagazine.com/f35_news ... tem_id=693

Eglin Dozen

Posted 15 May 2012

The twelfth F-35 Lightning II destined for the training fleet at Eglin AFB, Florida, was ferried from the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas, on 15 May 2012. US Marine Corps pilot Lt. Col. Fred Schenk piloted the aircraft "BF-11" (Bureau Number 168062) on the ninety minute flight. The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing production jet will be used for pilot and maintainer training at the F-35 Integrated Training Center at Eglin. It is assigned to Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501), "VM-06". :)
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Unread post18 May 2012, 05:12

May 17 brought first flights. Yes, flightS. AF-17 as 09-5004/OT "31 TES" and AF-18 as 09-5005/OT.
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Unread post18 May 2012, 15:24

tally wrote:May 17 brought first flights. Yes, flightS. AF-17 as 09-5004/OT "31 TES" and AF-18 as 09-5005/OT.


the tail code is "OT", not "EG"?
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Unread post18 May 2012, 18:40

F-35 problems on their way to being fixed.
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... ed-372074/

The F-35 Lightning II is making good progress through flight testing this year, a top Lockheed Martin official says. Most of the biggest challenges faced by the programme should be well on their way to being fixed by the later part of the year.

One major issue that has recently popped up on the US Navy's F-35C variant is that the aircraft's tail-hook has had to be redesigned. That is because the existing design has failed to catch an arresting cable during trials. Lockheed is working on a new improved hook design that should fix the problem.

"We have modified the hook point with a lower center of gravity," says Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice president for F-35 programme integration and business development. Additionally, "we've redesigned the hold-down damper."

The new design is scheduled for its preliminary design review in "the summer." That will be followed by a critical design review in the fourth quarter.

After the new hook design undergoes shore-based qualification trails, the F-35C will undergo sea trials on a carrier in late 2013 or early 2014.

Lockheed is also set to test fixes to the jet's troublesome helmet-mounted display (HMD) this summer, O'Bryan says. Lockheed has reached an agreement with the US government on the HMD requirements, which will help the company to fix imagery lag on the helmet by tweaking the system's software, he says.

The company is also adding micro inertial measurement units (IMU) to the helmet and pilot's seat to dampen out jittery images. "We're going to fly those micro-IMUs this summer," O'Bryan says.

Lockheed hopes that the new ISIE-11 camera, which replaces the existing ISIE-10 cameras, will resolve jet's night vision acuity problems. The new system will undergo testing at MIT's Lincoln Labs later this summer. The system will now consist of two ISIE-11 cameras, one of which will be mounted in the helmet and another on the canopy bow, and imagery pumped in from the F-35's six distributed aperture system (DAS) infrared cameras.

"We're optimistic, we've got a good plan," O'Bryan says.

Meanwhile, the pilots have started to test the imagery from the distributed aperture system. Initial results look to be very promising, O'Bryan says. But there will need to be tweaks as flight tests reveal potential issues.

Other avionics tests are proceeding well. The F-35 has already started testing the Link-16 data-link and will soon start to test the variable message format link which is needed for the close air support mission. There are also ongoing tests with the radar, electronic warfare, and infrared targeting system, which are needed for the release of the Block 2A training software.

On the flight sciences side, the US Marine Corps short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B test programme is further along than that of the F-35C. The previously troubled B-model is now running 20% ahead of this year's planned test schedule, O'Bryan says.

The F-35B has flown at altitudes over 49,000ft and has hits speeds of Mach 1.4. That's just shy of the F-35's required 50, 000 ft ceiling and Mach 1.6 design speed limit, he says. The B-model has also flown at its maximum airspeed of 630 knots and has achieved its maximum 7G limit.

"It's about over 50% complete with its clean-wing full-envelop test points," O'Byan says.

The F-35C is also about 20% ahead of this year's flight test plan, O'Bryan says. Like the F-35B, the C-model has flown out to 630 knots, but the naval variant is required to hit 700 knots. The C-model has also flown at 45, 000 ft and at speeds of Mach 1.4. It has also hit its maximum 7.5G limit.

That means the USN version has completed about 40% of its clean configuration flight envelope test points, O'Bryan says.

Out at Edwards AFB, California, F-35A will have completed 45% of the totality of its flight test points by the end of the year. By the fourth quarter, the F-35A should have competed its first full lifetime of durability testing, O'Bryan says. There have thus far been no new issues that have arisen as a result of the tests.

'That, I'm happy to say, is going well," he says.

The all versions of the jet have started flying with external stores. Later this year, the aircraft will enter into high angle of attack testing up to 50 angle of attack, O'Bryan says. The programme will also start wet runway tests, engine air starts, and weapons releases.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post18 May 2012, 22:19

tally wrote:May 17 brought first flights. Yes, flightS. AF-17 as 09-5004/OT "31 TES" and AF-18 as 09-5005/OT.


It would be nice to see the 53rd Wing get a couple of F-35s for EW testing and tactics; but it is not likely until the pilot/ maintenance training squadron (359th Training Squadron) has a full complement of a/c. :)
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Unread post20 May 2012, 16:39

On the flight sciences side, the US Marine Corps short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B test programme is further along than that of the F-35C. The previously troubled B-model is now running 20% ahead of this year's planned test schedule, O'Bryan says.

The F-35B has flown at altitudes over 49,000ft and has hits speeds of Mach 1.4. That's just shy of the F-35's required 50, 000 ft ceiling and Mach 1.6 design speed limit, he says. The B-model has also flown at its maximum airspeed of 630 knots and has achieved its maximum 7G limit.

"It's about over 50% complete with its clean-wing full-envelop test points," O'Byan says.

The F-35C is also about 20% ahead of this year's flight test plan, O'Bryan says. Like the F-35B, the C-model has flown out to 630 knots, but the naval variant is required to hit 700 knots. The C-model has also flown at 45, 000 ft and at speeds of Mach 1.4. It has also hit its maximum 7.5G limit.

That means the USN version has completed about 40% of its clean configuration flight envelope test points, O'Bryan says.

Out at Edwards AFB, California, F-35A will have completed 45% of the totality of its flight test points by the end of the year. By the fourth quarter, the F-35A should have competed its first full lifetime of durability testing, O'Bryan says. There have thus far been no new issues that have arisen as a result of the tests.



It is interesting to see how quiet the various self-appointed "expert" critics have become as these sorts of reports become common.

F-35s are rolling off the production line, testing is proceeding steadily, real training will start soon... and yet where are the people who were calling for the program to be cancelled just a year or two ago? Even over at Ares BS seems to have run a little short on material for his hit pieces.
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Unread post23 May 2012, 19:59

neptune wrote:
tally wrote:May 17 brought first flights. Yes, flightS. AF-17 as 09-5004/OT "31 TES" and AF-18 as 09-5005/OT.


It would be nice to see the 53rd Wing get a couple of F-35s for EW testing and tactics; but it is not likely until the pilot/ maintenance training squadron (359th Training Squadron) has a full complement of a/c. :)


Wow! :shock: They did get AF-17&18, OT tail codes. My apologies for doubting! :oops:

I'll change the tailcodes in my spreadsheet! :D
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