Jon Beesley, the first pilot to fly the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 fighter jet, has revisited the aerospace company to celebrate the first F-35 test flight that occurred on Dec. 15, 2006, Star-Telegram reported Friday.
Max Baker writes the retired pilot flew the F-35 up to nearly 15,000 feet and the inaugural test was cut short to 35 minutes due to two airspeed indicators that provided different data.
“We all knew [F-35] was going to work, but the proof is when it can get off the ground and not do the funky chicken,” Beesly said.
Beesly noted he is not surprised if the company’s F-35 development effort will take a while to complete since the aircraft will support three military branches, Baker reported.
The former Lockheed pilot logged 350 flight hours aboard F-35 and performed numerous test flights before he retired in 2011.