Monday, October 27, 2008

F-35 completes air-start test at Edwards

by Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes, 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

An F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, marked AA-1, lands Oct. 23 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The F-35 Integrated Test Force staff concluded an air-start test. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- The prototype F-35 Joint Strike Fighter AA-1 completed an air-start test validating the aircraft's ability to shut down and restart its engine in flight Oct. 23 here.

This ensures the aircraft, which is called the F-35 Lightning II for the Air Force, can regain power and fly safely in the event of an unanticipated engine flameout.

The F-35 Integrated Test Force staff showed the test points to 20 members of the local, national and international presses that same day as part of an F-35 media day. The aircraft arrived here Oct. 1 from Lockheed Martin's plant at Fort Worth, Texas.

The test marks the beginning of the "largest flight test program in history," said Doug Pearson, the Lockheed Martin vice president of the F-35 Integrated Force.

"This is the most comprehensive flight test program ever assembled," Mr. Pearson said. "We performed the test here because we needed to understand how we can support this complex piece of machinery. We also needed to understand how our team, both contractor and government, can function."

"It is a great day for our country and our friends, allies and partners around the globe," said Col. William Thornton, 412th Test Wing commander. "The F-35 is a significant increase in combat capability, but more importantly, it will provide America's crucial dominance in airpower."

Edwards Air Force Base was chosen for the air start testing because of its "unmatched combination of location, facilities and people," Colonel Thornton said. "Its remote location allows us to test advanced aerospace vehicle safely. We have miles and miles of lakebed runways. With this testing, we continue to learn how great an aircraft the F-35 is."