June 23, 2017

F-35 UNLEASHED: The Paris display may not silence the critics, but it certainly changed the conversation.

Lockheed test pilot Billie Flynn, who flew the much-anticipated F-35 aerial demonstration at the Paris Air Show, showcased the capabilities of the controversial new fighter in a way that has never before been seen. The F-35’s slow-speed maneuverability and the power of Pratt & Whitney’s 40,000-lb.-thrust engine were on full display, with the aircraft climbing vertically into the sky and gently falling into a controlled, 360-deg. pedal turn.

The F-35 is not as agile as the twin-engine, thrust-vectoring F-22 Raptor, which is designed for air-to-air combat. But pilots say when the F-35 is flown in the way it is designed to be flown, it is a formidable dogfighter—far more so than its predecessor, the F-16, or any other fourth-generation fighter.

“This aircraft, down low in this environment, is an absolute monster,” says Flynn. “It is more powerful, it is more aggressive than any of us, including those of us [who] fly the F-35, would have imagined.”

There’s video here if you’re interested.

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