Proving Maturity

The Air Force’s first two F-35A production aircraft, AF-6 and AF-7, have flown 98 percent of the flight training syllabus envisioned for the new stealth fighter, said Maj. Gen. C.D. Moore, F-35 program office deputy director, Wednesday. “We’re flying those aircraft like they’ll be flown in the training environment—actual syllabus-type sorties,” said Moore during an Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force Breakfast Program speech in Arlington, Va. These flight activities are occurring at Edwards AFB, Calif., ahead of a dry-run training course scheduled this fall at Eglin AFB, Fla., home of the initial joint F-35 schoolhouse, before the first regular F-35 pilot training course starts next January at Eglin. Since both AF-6 and AF-7 are loaded with Block 1 software, like the training aircraft slated for Eglin, service officials will use the data from these flights “to make a determination on airworthiness and flight dynamics,” said Moore. Edwards testers expect to wrap up the syllabus flights with a series of two-ship sorties, he said. AF-6 and AF-7 will eventually depart Edwards for Eglin, their long-term home, where they will serve among the 59 training aircraft planned for the Florida base.