The inaugural flight of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter took place Friday at 12:44 CST at Lockheed Martin’s Forth Worth, Tex., production facility. Company chief test pilot Jon Beesley noted in a company release that the new fighter “performed beautifully” and called it a “great start for the flight test program. Beesley took the conventional take-off and landing variant of the F-35 through a series of maneuvers, flying for about 30 minutes. It now enters a 12,000-hour flight-test program, adding to some 10,000 hours of lab tests. Dan Crowley, Lockheed’s F-35 point man took aim at concerns that the Pentagon is “buying before testing” the JSF, saying, “The F-35 will enter service as the most exhaustively tested, most thoroughly proven fighter system in history.”
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.