Feeds

And now - new stealth jumpjet makes first hover landing

'Cobblestones' effect reduced, says Brit test pilot

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Vid Following yesterday's initial hover, the new F-35B Lightning II - world's first supersonic stealth jumpjet - has now made a vertical landing. British test pilot Graham Tomlinson said the aircraft is much easier to set down than today's Harrier.

“Today’s vertical landing onto a 95-foot square pad showed that we have the thrust and the control to maneuver accurately both in free air and in the descent through ground effect,” said Tomlinson, a former RAF Harrier jockey and now lead test pilot for the F-35B. The first three jumpjets are in flight tests at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

The vertical landing was a venture into the unknown for the F-35B, as its design is radically different from the Harrier and it had not previously hovered low enough for surface effects to come into play.

Tomlinson has previously said that the F-35B is easier to handle in the hover than a Harrier: apart from more sophisticated control systems, he says that the forward lift fan, driven by a shaft from the engine and mounted in a vertical tunnel behind the cockpit*, blasts cool air downward as the swivelling jetpipe nozzle at the back of the plane blows fiercely hot jet exhaust.

In the Harrier, hot exhaust roiling up from the ground can get sucked into the jet's engine intakes, causing unpredictable power blips, but Tomlinson has said that the F-35B's fanshaft air acts as a "dam", causing the hot exhaust to stay to the rear and letting the engine operate more consistently. He told reporters that the "cobblestones" felt during a hover landing were "very light" compared to his days flying Harriers.

“The low workload in the cockpit contrasted sharply with legacy short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) platforms,” he added.

Tomlinson also gave it as his assessment that data from the landing yesterday indicated the F-35B will be able to make vertical landings still carrying 5,000lb of fuel and weapons. This will mean that it can come in to a hover landing on ships at sea still armed with air-to-air missiles, a vital requirement if the plane is being used as a patrol fighter to protect a fleet.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?