Aircraft CF-5, flown by Navy test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burks, takes off from the F-35 Lightning II manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas, Dec. 11. The aircraft, which arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., the same day, is the final permanently assigned F-35C for the Integrated Test Force at NAS Patuxent River and designated primarily for ship suitability and high angle of attack testing. The Lightning II F-35C carrier variant is distinct from the F-35A and F-35B variants with larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear built to withstand catapult launches and deck-landing impacts associated with the demanding aircraft carrier environment. The F-35C is undergoing flight test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River before delivery to the fleet.