NEWS | F-35 Lightning IIs Complete Historic Flight
At Least They Have That Under Their Belt.
With all the bad rep F-35 Lightnings are getting lately, it’s refreshing to hear that something they did work as planned. Between the overextended budget, missed deadlines and software errors, the USAF just completed their first transatlantic flight and got us some amazingly shot footage too.
On June 30th, 2016, three F-35As (USAF variant) flew across the Atlantic to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England. This town hosts one of the biggest air shows in Europe called the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT). Between 150,000 to 160,000 see the show over the course of a single weekend, so this is the perfect opportunity for the United States to show off their new bird. It’s for sale of course…
Exactly 5 minutes into the video you can catch a glimpse of the fuel receptacle retracting. It’s a small treat but really neat to see.
As for the flight, Lockheed Martin and the DoD are extremely happy. The same flight was to be attempted two years ago but was aborted due to an engine fire of one of the F-35B. After two years of further testing, the feat was accomplished.
The 8 hour flight went without a hitch and also included further refueling tests. All three Lightning IIs had to perform midair refueling seven times. Three of them were from a KC-135 Stratotanker and four from a KC-10 Extender. No problems were encountered.
Making their debut in England for the first time, they will fly in a heritage type formation between July 8th and 10th alongside an F-22 Raptor and P-51 Mustang. If you live in England or have the ability to travel, that’s one sight you don’t want to miss.