First F-35 Returns to Flight at Edwards After Parachute Reinstallation

AF-1, an Air Force F-35A test aircraft, resumed flying at Edwards AFB, Calif., after technicians installed a properly packed parachute for its ejection seat. F-35 spokesman Joe DellaVedova said AF-1 returned to the skies on Feb. 3. It is the first of more than 15 F-35s to resume flights after test officials discovered improperly packed parachutes in them—six F-35As at Edwards and six F-35As and three F-35Bs at Eglin, AFB, Fla.—and temporarily suspended their high-speed ground and flight tests. DellaVedova said more head box assemblies containing properly packed parachutes are expected to arrive at Edwards, allowing additional aircraft to return to flight early this week. Other assemblies will arrive in the coming days at Eglin and at Lockheed Martin’s production plant in Fort Worth, Tex., for jets in assembly, he said. The temporary suspension did not affect the eight F-35 test aircraft at NAS Patuxent River, Md., since they have properly packed parachutes, said DellaVedova.