The Navy’s F-35C variant made its first air show appearance at Andrews AFB this weekend, prior to heading for the test range:
Piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Eric “Magic” Buus, the F-35C flight commemorated 100 years of naval aviation by highlighting the future of tactical air power, the US Navy said in its website.
The flyover on Saturday originated from the F-35C’s primary test site at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. The aircraft, CF-2, flew within its approved flight envelope and was accompanied by an F-18 Hornet flying chase, it said.
The F-35C is a fifth generation strike fighter with stealth capability and has larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear for the demanding carrier environment.
Here’s the hi-res link to this photograph of the Charlie model, as taken from the cockpit of the chase FA-18 plane that accompanied it.
A lovely looking machine, to be sure. Couldn’t help notice that it’s something of a step backward from the perspective of over-the-shoulder visibility however. In the FA-18, some pilots complained about the size of the headbox – which contained the ejection seat’s parachute – but I didn’t mind: You could look over your right shoulder and see your left tail, so rearward visibility couldn’t be too bad.
Or maybe you don’t need that with all-aspect stealth and DAS, and so on.