Defense

April 13, 2012

Navy test pilot knows his ABCs

Tags:

Lockheed Martin photograph
Navy Lt. Christopher Tabert on March 23 completed the government acceptance flight for AF-14, a production-level F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter for the U.S. Air Force.

In the alphabet soup of military acronyms and abbreviations, it can be difficult to keep the ABCs straight.

Despite the alphabetical hurdles, one Navy test pilot used his ABC knowledge to write a new chapter in flight test history.

On March 23, Lt. Christopher Tabert completed the government acceptance flight for AF-14, a production-level F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter for the U.S. Air Force.

In doing so, he became the only military test pilot to fly the A, B and C versions of the F-35, said Marine Corps Col. Art Tomassetti, vice commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, Air Education and Training Command at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

“I didn’t really have time to reflect on that,” Tabert said of the distinction. “We were busy trying to get the test completed. I was just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and was glad to help out the team.”

The three versions of the F-35 include the U.S. Air Force F-35A, the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B short takeoff and vertical-landing model, and the U.S. Navy F-35C carrier variant.

“The ability for a pilot to move seamlessly across the F-35 variants really puts the ‘Joint’ in JSF,” Tomassetti said. “We’ll be able to leverage the capability in training and in future joint operations.”

For Tabert, the differences between the models are slight.

“The flying qualities of the A felt a lot like the B and C,” Tabert said. “You really can’t tell much of a difference between the three from the cockpit.”

Even though Tabert started testing the F-35 only nine months ago, he already has a number of milestones on the aircraft under his belt: the first steam catapult launch; the first weapons pit drop for an inert 1,000 pound GBU-32 GPS-guided bomb; a supersonic flight; and the first launch from the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System.

The F-35B and F-35C naval variants of the Joint Strike Fighter are undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River prior to delivery to the fleet. The 33rd Fighter Wing will provide initial fleet training on the F-35.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines March 4, 2015

News: Pentagon: Another BRAC will save money - Pentagon planners have a new pitch to lawmakers skeptical of a fresh round of base closings: We promise we’ll save money this time.   Business: China’s new C919 will begin test flights this year - China’s new superjet will take to the skies for the first time later this...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jensen Stidham

World War II pilot reunited with P-47

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jensen Stidham Retired Air National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Hertel, laughs while under the wing of a P-47 Thunderbolt during the Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course Feb. 2...
 
 

News Briefs March 4, 2015

General: 8,500 Islamic State fighters killed in Iraq so far The U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq has killed more than 8,500 Islamic State fighters since its bombing campaign began in August, the top general overseeing the coalition said March 3. Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of U.S. Central Command, said the Islamic State, which...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Turning up the heat

Lockheed Martin photograph Lockheed Martin ATHENA laser weapon system defeats a truck target by disabling the engine, demonstrating its military effectiveness against enemy ground vehicles. Latest evolution of Lockheed Martin l...
 
 

USO Visit

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara Actor Vince Vaughn speaks with Edwards Airmen and 412th Security Forces Squadron members at the base library before introducing an advance screening of his new movie, “Unfinished Business,” at the base theater Feb. 28.
 
 

Sikorsky S-97 RAIDERô team begins final assembly of second aircraft

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., announced March 4 the start of final assembly of the second S-97 RAIDERô helicopter at the company’s Development Flight Center. Along with a team of industry suppliers, Sikorsky is developing two RAIDERô prototypes to demonstrate the revolutionary new capabilities in improved maneuverability and flight speed. The...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>