Fresh Start, No Problem

Testers at Edwards AFB, Calif., validated the ability to restart the engine of the Marine Corps’ F-35B strike fighter variant in mid flight, paving the way for high-angle-of-attack handling tests with the B model beginning next year. That next phase “is probably some of the most challenging testing we will conduct,” said F-35 test pilot Marine Lt. Col. Matthew Kelly. “After we get through it, we’ll know a lot more about how this aircraft will perform during combat within visual range,” he added. Test pilots in August concluded a series of 27 intentional flameout and air restarts with F-35B test airframe BF-2 to evaluate the aircraft’s response at varying altitudes, stated Edwards officials in a Sept. 4 release. The Navy-led test team from NAS Patuxent River, Md., elected to use Edwards due to the base’s open airspace and the added safety of its nearly 65 miles of landing surface at its dry lakebeds, according to the release. Air-start tests on the Air Force’s F-35A concluded at Edwards earlier this year.