A Royal Air Force officer took to the skies in a Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) becoming the first active-duty service pilot from the United Kingdom to make use of the new product.
RAF Squadron Leader Steve Long piloted BF-2, the second short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B, over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., making it the aircraft’s 18th mission. Long departed at 9:55 a.m. EST and flew the aircraft to 20, 000 feet, before landing about an hour later. Both the RAF and the Royal Navy are scheduled to use the F-35B in the future.
“Flying the F-35 was exactly like the simulators that I’ve been flying for over 18 months now, which gives you a lot of confidence in all the modeling and simulation work that has been done in all the other areas of the flight envelope, ” Long said, adding that it was a “privilege” to fly the F-35.