Some F-35s Return to Flight after Temporary Grounding

The F-35 program leadership has cleared some, but not all, F-35 test aircraft to resume flight operations after an in-flight anomaly with one aircraft last week temporarily suspended operations. F-35 spokesman Joe DellaVedova told the Daily Report Tuesday that three F-35As (AF-1, AF-2, AF-3) and four F-35Bs (BF-1, BF-2, BF-3, BF-4) are no longer under the flight suspension. In fact, AF-1 on Monday became the first F-35 test aircraft to return to flight. However, three test assets (AF-4, BF-5, CF-1) and the first two F-35 production-version airplanes (AF-6, AF-7) remain grounded, he said. The fleet-wide flight suspension went into effect as a safety precaution after AF-4 experienced a dual generator failure and oil leak during a March 9 flight at Edwards AFB, Calif. Program officials continue to investigate the root cause, but already have determined that the issue is unique to a newer generator configuration that first appeared in the later batch of test aircraft, said DellaVedova. Therefore, they rescinded the flight suspension on the earlier test aircraft, he said.