Friday, March 22, 2013

US Marines Corps' VMFA-121 squadron flies first "operational" STOVL sortie

US Marines Corps' VMFA-121 squadron flies first "operational" STOVL sortie:
from The DEW Line 
The US Marine Corps' VMFA-121, the first "operational"
Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II squadron, conducted its first short take-off
vertical landing sortie at MCAS Yuma, Arizona, on 21 March.

Maj Richard Rusnok, a test pilot previously assigned to NAS
Patuxent River, Maryland, flew the unit's first short take-off and short
landing. He also performed the first F-35B hover and vertical landing outside
of flight-testing in aircraft BF-19.
Rusnok was accompanied on his flight by VMFA-121 commanding officer Lt
Col Jeffrey Scott, who was flying chase in a second F-35B.

 "The first STOVL flight for an F-35B outside of the test
environment was another milestone achieved by the Marine Corps and the Green
Knights today here at MCAS Yuma," Scott says.
  "The F-35 program and specifically the F-35B have made
significant progress to make this possible."

 The USMC says VMFA-121 will grow over the next year or
so to include about 300 personnel. It is also scheduled to receive a total of
16 F-35Bs before the end of 2013, the Marines say.

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