F-35A Starts Testing at Edwards

The F-35A conventional take-off and landing Joint Strike Fighter dubbed AA-1 landed at Edwards AFB, Calif., on Oct. 1 for a series of tests, including air-start and noise testing. According to prime contractor Lockheed Martin, AA-1 made its 50th flight in late September in Fort Worth, Tex. A Sept. 30 company release said the aircraft flew on Sept. 16 with a full weapons load (using mock weapons) in its internal weapons bays for the first time and on Sept. 25 went through in-flight refueling testing. According to Lockheed’s chief F-35 test pilot, Jon Beesley, “The climb out with full internal weapons carriage was particularly impressive to me; very pleasant to see clean fighter climb rates and angles while carrying a combat load.” (USAF photo release)