Playing Glider

Air Force test pilots successfully restarted the F-35A’s F135 engine for the first time in flight during recent test flights at Edwards AFB, Calif. “The pilot literally turns the engine off and then he can either use ram air effect from the motion of the airframe or he can also do a starter-assisted start,” said John Kelly, test manager at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee. AEDC evaluated the engine on the ground prior to the first air-start tests at Edwards in March to develop baseline data and establish safe flight-test parameters. “We’ve done those tests here before they ever did them out there,” explained Kelly. Testers at Edwards will also conduct similar trails of the F-35B short-takeoff and vertical-landing variant, said propulsion integration chief Melanie Link. (Edwards report by Philip Lorenz III)