November 19, 2010 (by Bjørnar Bolsøy) - The F-35 test program is maintaining pace and has completed its 500th flight. The notable flight was achieved by the BF-04 STOVL variant on Thursday November 18 at NAS Patuxent River.
BF-04 Flight 16. Lt. Col. Matt Taylor flying on July 17th, 2010.
The three-hour sortie was mainly to evaluate avionics software.
Still only half way through November the program has reached its planned number of about 50 flights for the month. A total of 366 flights have been flown this year, well within reach of the 394 due by year's end.
Over 5,000 flights are planned by 2015 for all the three F-35 variants.