Wednesday, March 09, 2011

U.S. Navy F-35 Makes First Supersonic Flight

SOURCE ADMIN The Navy's version of the joint strike fighter broke the sound barrier March 4, a first for the new airplane.
The F-35C, a variant of the strike fighter that can land and take off from aircraft carriers, flew out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., reaching Mach 1.02 at 30,000 feet, according to a press release from Naval Air Systems Command. The flight tested the plane's ability to handle structural loads while performing different maneuvers and while flying at different speeds.
Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Matt Taylor flew the airplane, dubbed CF-1, the first carrier version manufactured.
"We accomplished a large number of test points, and CF-1 handled great going past Mach 1. It was a privilege for me to take the F-35C over that milestone for the first time," Taylor said in the NAVAIR release.
The Navy variant is the last of the three versions to break the sound barrier. On June 10, a jump jet version designed for the Marine Corps went supersonic, hitting Mach 1.07 in a flight near Patuxent River. The Air Force version, the F-35A, went supersonic Nov. 13, 2008, over rural Texas.
The JSF is expected to fly Mach 1.6 at its top speed.

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