US Marine Corps Col Arthur Tomassetti, 33rd Fighter Wing vice-commander, had his first local area F-35B flight scrubbed yesterday due to weather. Today, however, the weather was good and he managed to log 1.5 hours on the jet–which returned home with zero discrepancies, reports Dave Majumdar of the DEW Line.
Most of the flight was out over the Gulf of Mexico and consisted of basic aircraft handling maneuvers such as turns, climbs, descents. But Tomassetti also did some formation flying with the two Boeing F/A-18s that are visiting from Marine Corps Reserve Squadron VMFA-112 based at Fort Worth, Texas. Returning to base, he did some touch and goes around the Eglin pattern.
As Tomassetti describes it, flying at Eglin without having to hit specific test points is far less stressful than a full-up test sortie would be at NAS Patuxent River or Edwards AFB.
Tomassetti says: “The difference between flying test flights in a test aircraft and flying the F-35B in Eglin airspace is not being under the continuous pressure of a test flight following very specific procedures. Today I really had the luxury of exploring the aircraft at my own pace, getting comfortable flying it around, and operating the displays. I was able to focus on what I wanted to focus on and my first time flying in the Eglin airspace.
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