Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Eglin F-35 has short first flight

Eglin F-35 on first sortie. Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The first sortie of an F-35 from Eglin Air Force base today was short-lived when the pilot bought the jet back after 15 minutes because of an in flight emergency. Pilots and maintainers are meeting today to discuss the potential fuel leak that shortened the planned 90-minute flight. "Our first sortie is truly a milestone for the program," said Col. Andrew Toth, 33rd Fighter Wing commander. "Unfortunately things happen. We didn't want it to happen today but we were prepared. Our pilot did the exact right thing in returning the jet back to Eglin. Although there were issues we are doing whatever we can to move the program forward safely and effectively." Eglin is home of the Joint Strike Fighter training center, which will train all branches of the military to fly the stealth fighter. The F-35A received an airworthiness certification from the Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center Feb. 27, allowing the advanced fighter aircraft to begin flights at Eglin. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 03/06/12)