Thursday, February 23, 2012
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- A Royal Air Force squadron leader became United Kingdom's first military test pilot to fly the F-35C, the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. Jim Schofield, RAF squadron leader, said the F-35 is the best handling of any jet he's flown. Schofield's Feb. 21 flight is the latest in a series of milestones for the UK's program, which included the first F-35C launch on the test electromagnetic aircraft launch system Nov. 18 and the rollout of the first UK F-35 from the production line four days later. EMALS is the launching system of record for the future HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, currently under construction. (Source: Naval Air Systems Command, 02/22/12) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.