Just Push “Auto-Land”

A Lockheed Martin F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing test aircraft last week achieved an impressive milestone, according to Warren Boley, Pratt & Whitney military engines president. “For the first time,” Boley said in an interview, “a pilot pushed a button and the [air]plane landed autonomously.” Boley joked that the pilot could fold his hands behind his head or “read the paper” while the airplane safely settled down to a vertical landing from hover. The flight was the 74th vertical landing of the F-35 test program, and the fact that the Marine Corps was willing to allow the test indicated high confidence in the airplane and its Pratt-supplied F135 engine, Boley told the Daily Report April 8.