Photo: Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF takes off on its first flight,
December 15, 2006 (Photo: Lockheed Martin)
The first F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter
took off on its initial test flight from Lockheed Martin in
Fort Worth, Texas on 12:44 December 15, 2006 piloted by the
program's Chief Pilot Jon Beesley. The aircraft was airborne
35 minutes on its maiden flight. the jet lifted off and began
a climb-out to 15,000 feet. Beesley then performed a series
of maneuvers to test aircraft handling and the operation of
the Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan and subsystems.
Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president
and general manager of the F-35 program, said the aircraft has
continued to meet or exceed expectations during its assembly
and pre-flight checkouts. It has now embarked on a 12,000-hour
flight-test program designed to validate tens of thousands of
hours of testing already completed in F-35 laboratories.