Second F-35B Arrives at Test Site

BF-2, the second F-35B test aircraft, arrived in late December at NAS Patuxent River, Md. It joined BF-1, the first test aircraft in the short-takeoff/vertical landing configuration, that arrived there in November, but only recently returned to the air due to downtime for repairs. With both test aircraft now there and more to come, “Pax River is ready to begin the extensive four-year flight test campaign to help field the future of Marine Corps and Navy aviation,” said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program general manager, in the company’s release. Marine Corps Maj. Joseph Bachmann piloted BF-2 nonstop from Lockheed’s F-35 assembly plant in Fort Worth, Tex., during its 3.5-hour flight to Pax River on Dec. 29, a sortie that included one in-flight refueling. Testing of the Air Force F-35A variant is also expected to ramp up in 2010 at Edwards AFB, Calif.