Spectators at the 2017 Paris Air Show were treated to a full aerobatic demonstration of the F-35A Stealth Fighter which is being portrayed as the first major international display of the aircraft’s performance.
“After 10 years since first flight, with our first opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities and the maneuverability of the F-35, we are going to crush years of misinformation about what this aircraft is capable of doing,”test pilot Billie Flynn said in an interview with Aviation Week.
The F-35’s maneuverability is all the more impressive because, unlike the F-16s that perform at air shows, the Joint Strike Fighter flying the demonstration this week is fully combat-ready. Flynn’s F-35A will move easily through complex aerial maneuvers loaded with everything it needs to go to war.
“All of those airplanes that do air shows—the Hornet, Viper—they are all slicked off without all the external stores,” Flynn said. “They are a party trick at an air show, versus a combat-configuredor F-35.”
“This aircraft down low in this environment is an absolute monster,” said Flynn. ”It is more powerful, it is more aggressive than any of us, including those of us that fly the F-35, would have imagined before we began this flight-demo process.” – Aviation Week
Based on the comments above it appears the capabilities of the F-35A at the air show is even impressing the test pilot flying it! Fighter Sweep reported back in early May that it was unsure if the F-35 would make the trip to Paris Air Show.
Featured image of F-35 at the Paris Air Show 2017 by ERIC PIERMONT, AFP/Getty Images