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Published on Mar 18, 2010
Courtesy: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program/Lockheed Martin Video clip has takeoff, hover and vertical landing. A supersonic Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter rode more than 41,000 pounds of thrust to a vertical landing today for the first time, confirming its required ability to land in confined areas both ashore and afloat.
"Today's vertical landing onto a 95-foot square pad showed that we have the thrust and the control to maneuver accurately both in free air and in the descent through ground effect," said F-35 Lead STOVL Pilot Graham Tomlinson.
Tomlinson performed an 80-knot (93 miles per hour) short takeoff from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., at 1:09 p.m. EDT. About 13 minutes into the flight, he positioned the aircraft 150 feet above the airfield, where he commanded the F-35 to hover for approximately one minute then descend to the runway.
"The low workload in the cockpit contrasted sharply with legacy short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) platforms," said Tomlinson, a retired Royal Air Force fighter pilot and a BAE Systems employee since 1986. "Together with the work already completed for slow-speed handling and landings, this provides a robust platform to expand the fleet's STOVL capabilities."