First F-35 Production Model Flies

AF-6, the first F-35 production-version aircraft, made its inaugural flight last week from Lockheed Martin’s F-35 assembly facility in Fort Worth, Tex. “The aircraft was rock-solid from takeoff to landing, and successfully completed all the tests we put it through during the flight,” said Lockheed test pilot Bill Gigliotti, in a company release. Gigliotti carried out basic flight maneuvering and engine tests with AF-6 during the one-hour test on Feb. 25. AF-6 is an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing model destined for the Air Force. Tests with the aircraft will continue at Fort Worth for about the next month until Lockheed formally turns it over to the Air Force. AF-6 will then head to Edwards AFB, Calif., to support developmental flight test activities for the overall F-35 program. Four F-35A test aircraft are already flying at Edwards.