Running First Jump

A Marine Corps F-35B lifted off for the first time from the joint F-35 schoolhouse at Eglin AFB, Fla. “Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 has had an exciting year with the arrival of our first three aircraft in January . . . and now generating sorties,” said Marine Lt. Col. David Berke, the unit’s commander, when discussing the historic May 22 flight, which came some two months after Air Force F-35As began flying from the schoolhouse. Marine Maj. Joseph Bachmann took off and landed conventionally with the F-35B on the May 22 sortie. The Marines said they plan to slowly work up to short-takeoff and vertical-landing flights at Eglin. The base now hosts a total of 12 F-35s, both A and B models, with the May 15 arrival of another F-35B. (Eglin report by Chrissy Cuttita)