The F-35, the next generation of vertical takeoff and landing jet fighter, developed by Lockheed-Martin, performed its first vertical landing yesterday:
Yesterday at 1 P.M., after descending from a 150-foot-high hover, the test plane touched down on the tarmac at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. This is a significant step forward for the F-35, as its vertical takeoff and landing capability are crucial to the fighter's role as a replacement for the aging Harrier jet.
The test began with a short runway takeoff at 93 miles per hour, after which the pilot swung around, positioned the plane over the runway, and lowered it down. The test pilot, a former Royal Air Force aviator with experience piloting VSTOL planes, said he found landing the F-35 vertically far easier than landing older planes, like the Harrier, the same way.