US Marine Corps aviators Major Joseph “OD” Bachmann and Lt Col Matt “Squirt” Kelly flew a pair of Lockheed Martin F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) production jets to Eglin Air Force Base, according to the DEW Line. The aircraft were the ninth and tenth B-model jets built for the USMC.
At Eglin, the two aircraft will serve with VMFA-501, which resides with the US Air Force’s 33d Fighter Wing, where they will be used for pilot and maintainer training. VMFA-501’s parent unit is the 2nd Marine Air Wing.
One other STOVL jet, BF-11, was formally accepted by the Defense Contract Management Agency. That jet will fly to Eglin soon.
Meanwhile, the Marines at Eglin could start local area flights as early as Saturday, May 11.