April 13, 2010 (by Chris Geisel) - AF-1, the first optimized Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II conventional takeoff and landing test plane, rolls out of the F-35 Final Finishes Facility sporting a new hand-painted fin flash on its vertical stabilizers.
AF-1 paint scheme [Lockheed Martin photo by Neal Chapman]
While at the facility, the plane also received highly accurate robot-applied coatings. The stealth jet flew twice before entering an intensive period of ground testing, and is preparing for its return to flight and ferry to the Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. test site.
AF-1 is also the first F-35 to roll off the moving assembly line, having achieved the maximum production speed of 50 inches per hour during a trial high-speed assembly sequence.