A Marine F-35B marked a first when it made a safe vertical landing on the deck of the USS Wasp (LHD 1). The first vertical landing is part of the initial ship trials for the F-35B, which started Monday and is expected to last two weeks. The tests will collect data on the aircraft's ability to perform short take-offs and vertical landings on a ship at sea, as well as determine how the aircraft integrates with the ship's landing systems, and deck and hangar operations. This test period will also collect environmental data on the deck through added instrumentation to measure the F-35B's impact to flight deck operations. The F-35B is the variant of the Joint Strike Fighter capable of short take-offs and vertical landings for use on amphibious ships or expeditionary airfields. (Source: NNS, 10/03/11) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center.