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#3274 2008-11-14 23:15 GMT-5 hours    

"The airplane performed pretty much like we thought it would," said Lockheed test pilot Jon Beesley. LOCKHEED MARTIN


F-35 test aircraft breaks sound barrier for first time
By BOB COX



If you thought you heard a sonic boom Thursday afternoon, you probably did.

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 test aircraft broke the sound barrier for the first time, topping out at Mach 1.05 — about 680 miles per hour — during a test flight.

Lockheed test pilot Jon Beesley was at the controls for the one-hour test flight, which occurred between 2 and 3 p.m. at 30,000 feet over the range between Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. "The airplane performed pretty much like we thought it would," Beesley said in a brief interview afterward.

The sound barrier was broken on the aircraft’s 69th test flight and the second one of the day Thursday.

The first time, in the morning, the plane was taken up to just below the speed of sound to check for handling qualities.

After lunch and a full tank of gas, Beesley returned to the sky and punched through the sound barrier four times, for two to three minutes each, while engineers on the ground monitored the airplane’s handling, systems and structure through telemetry data.

"The indications are that everything worked about as expected," Beesley said.

The airplane was flying with a full load, about 5,400 pounds of mock weapons representing two 2,000-pound precision-guided bombs and two air-to-air missiles.

The aircraft, AA-1 in program parlance, was the first and only one built before a major redesign to cut the aircraft’s weight.

Although it looks and flies like the rest of the aircraft should, on the inside much of the structure is different, Beesley said.

But the test flights are allowing Lockheed to gradually check out the flight controls and other systems in a variety of conditions, proving the design and predicted performance of the aircraft now being built.

Lockheed is the lead contractor on the F-35 de- velopment program, which is expected to cost U.S. taxpayers more than $300 billion for design, testing and production of 2,500 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marines.

Most of those aircraft are expected to be assembled in Lockheed’s Fort Worth plant.
BOB COX, 817-390-7723

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#3275 2008-11-15 05:48 GMT-5 hours    
Excellent news.. any other photo's or video of it breaking the sound barrier or in flight.

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#3277 2008-11-15 20:57 GMT-5 hours    
No that was the only thing that was on the news site. I highly doubt there are any photos of it breaking the sound barrier yet, and if they do exist then we should write a letter to Lockheed Martin and tell them to become a member of Airfighters and post Excellent news indeed though, can't wait for these to be carrying the maple leaf on them.

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#3278 2008-11-15 21:27 GMT-5 hours    
F-35 with a maple leaf....I doubt it....only because it only has one engine and is too expensive. Talking to a senior AVN tech from Bagotville in September, he believed the F-18E/F is a better fit for our airforce.

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#3291 2008-11-20 18:21 GMT-5 hours    
I know where youre coming from there on the 1 engine issue. And i agree with you that the Super Hornet is a better aircraft for the Canada's purpose. But the government has already sunk billions of dollars in the program and Canadian companies have won many contracts for parts and components. Dont forget politics, Canadian companies getting contracts = keep public happy.

Norway also just selected the F-35 over the Gripen NG.

PS. It's good to see another CF member around here, I take it you're in Greenwood at the school, I'm over in Shewarwater working on the Sea Thing.

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#3293 2008-11-20 21:23 GMT-5 hours    
Hey all!

What I understand, from reading an Airpower magazine back in September, is that Canada plans to start replacing the CF-188 (I'm not used to that designation...) with the F-35, starting in 2017. Unless the magazine was lying, or if things changed since...I don't know.

I'll inquire about it here at Borden, if I can.

**Oh no...the government got all wishy-washy and says "maybe" now. Hmmm...

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#3297 2008-11-21 18:26 GMT-5 hours    
Ahhh crap! I had a great reply typed out and it was probably too long...it did not go through!

Basically what I was saying was we only provided 150 millions so far. (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Feb2002/d20020207jsf.pdf) Part of the agreement is that the canadian aerospace industry is to build some components for the JSF. That does not mean we are committed to buy it. So, we are probably going to contracts regardless we buy it or not and = public happy.

As for the magazines, media, and official DND press releases, the are not lying...only printing the news of the day. Changes of governments means change of acquisition plans. We are so backed up in replacing or upgrading our tired old aircrafts that we have to come up with brilliant acquisition plans we recently saw with the C-17 and Chinook programs. If that happens, even if we want to meet the 2017 plan to replace the F-18, the only or most probable candidate ready to be delivered would be the F-18E/F. 31 Bravo...just think of the Cyclone project... There is alot of unexpected delays when buying a new platform, agree? And here on the Aurora fleet and the AIMP project...all 4 groups were supposed to be completed in 10 years, that was announced in '99 when I got here. Today, Block 2 is still not completed and Block 3's prototype is still at the contractor and not flying. I believe we are going to see more and more programs like the C-17 in the years ahead (hint-hint FWSAR project is back on).

Cheers to all!

PS: Check this out! http://bp2.blogger.com/_C26hJDx8bfQ/RoO7-7060FI/AAAAAAAAAD4/awOo6bBKe-8/s1600-h/Cdn+F-35%27s+over+Vancouver.jpg

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#3300 2008-11-21 18:40 GMT-5 hours    
Just a bit of advice, not just for airfighters, but any other site, always select all text and copy before clicking the Reply/Send button. There is a always a slight chance that your internet connection or the server will time out or trip on something and you will lose all data. I've learned this after many lost e-mails and forum posts to different sites and especially Yahoo mail.

-Ray

This is the oldest I've ever been.

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#3301 2008-11-21 18:43 GMT-5 hours    
I did that the second time around :-)

Thanks for the tip!

Cheers!

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#3309 2008-11-21 23:05 GMT-5 hours    
Is the government still only considering the Alenia C-27J?

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#3315 2008-11-22 19:37 GMT-5 hours    
All my CO indicated to us at morning brief last Thursday is the project is back on...no words on platforms yet. I would put my money on the C-27J...they came here for trials a couple of years ago...nice performer. I guess the CASA 295 would still be considered.

Back to snow removal operations....

Cheers!

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#3316 2008-11-22 23:41 GMT-5 hours    
I think its great how almost everyone responding in this topic is in the CF, though we got a bit off-topic. What would the Alenia C-27 replace? I'm not up to date with that.

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#3317 2008-11-23 00:00 GMT-5 hours    
The CC-115 Buffalo's in Comox. Half of them would also get sent to Greenwood. And since the Buffalo's are not flying more than are flying there's Hercs on SAR standby in Greenwood and Trenton. So it'll also relieve the CC-130 from SAR duty.

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#3323 2008-11-23 22:46 GMT-5 hours    
Can't wait to see the FWSAR at our main SAR bases...Greenwood, Trenton and Comox. Hercs and Buffalos are excellent platforms however they are very tired...

Cheers!

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