Time for the F-35 Paperwork

Lockheed Martin is within 14 days of completing a flight-test conventional take-off and landing version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at its Fort Worth, Tex., manufacturing facility, and the company does not anticipate any “showstoppers” prior to the aircraft’s first flight sometime this fall. Dan J. Crowley, Lockheed Martin vice president for the F-35, today told attendees at the Air Warfare Symposium that the main issue now is sticking to various paperwork, subsystem checkout, and flight certification schedules. The company recently and successfully tested the CTOL aircraft’s pressurized fuel systems and cockpit, noted Crowley, adding that the control surfaces have been moving properly. The engine, which had been installed, has since been removed, but will be going back into the air vehicle soon. Nothing is a given, however. Crowley asserted that you can never take flight certification for granted.