Monday, January 15, 2007

The new F-35 from Lockheed lets the fighter pilot be more fighter than pilot

This is very cool. From today's NRO:

On Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after testing the F-35, Beesley explained why the new nine-G, Mach 1.6 (just over 1,200 miles per hour) fighter is unlike anything ever flown.

"I’ve never felt any airplane that had better performance coming off the ground," Beesley tells National Review Online. "I had a very good idea of how I would climb out, but [because the single Pratt and Whitney F135 engine generates more thrust than any fighter engine ever built] I had to keep pulling the nose up. I was thinking, ‘this is interesting.’"

In September, I talked with with Marine Lt. Col. Arthur "Turbo" Tomassetti. Tomassetti, who had flown the X-35 (the stripped-down experimental version of what would evolve into the current F-35) explained that, "Mission stuff — killing things and blowing things up — should be what is most challenging. You don’t need to complicate a pilot’s life by making the hardest part of his combat mission getting back aboard ship."

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