Al Marsh

See the F-35B fighter hover

April 7, 2010 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

The new F-35B STOVL (short takeoff, vertical landing) fighter has hovered in mid-air March 17 as part of its test program.  See it on the Lockheed Martin YouTube page here. It is listed on the right side of the page.

Notice all the little doors closing in the “First Vertical Landing” video.  (There are three F-35 videos.)

Yes, the Harrier hovered, too. But it wasn’t stealthy, Lockheed Martin says, it couldn’t go supersonic, and had half the payload and a little more than half the range. Flight controls of the F-35 are digital and the pilot can hover hands off, while the Harrier controls were analog and the pilot had to have the right stuff.

The F-35B engine drives a counter-rotating lift fan located behind the cockpit, which combines with engine thrust via a vectored rear nozzle, and two bleed-air roll ducts under the wings to produce more than 41,000 pounds of thrust without the use of an afterburner; the Harrier essentially diverts engine thrust down or aft.

A “mission systems” F-35 flew for the first time April 7 carrying 5.5 million lines of never-flown-before computer code.

2 Responses to “See the F-35B fighter hover”

  1. Dennis Cockreham Says:

    The F-35 appears to be a fantastic air vehicle. I say “vechile” because you don’t have to have as much piloting skill as in years gone by. It seems everything is hands-off, just enjoy the ride.
    I am in awe of the “B” model, what a mechanical marvel.
    The F-35A will greatly enhance the F-22’s role, in addition to the “B and C” aircraft fitting into the other services.

  2. Leora Says:

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.

    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

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