Display Team, Extra, Shoreham 2015, The Blades

F-35 Lightning II

After the disappointment due to technical problems in 2014, RIAT 2016 saw the UK public debut of the F-35 Lightning II. Indeed the aircraft turned up in force, 3  SVTOL F-35B's (2 US Marines and 1 RAF) as well as 3 conventional takeoff/landing F-35A's.

A Friday special was a refuelling demo of a US Marines F-35B by a Hercules KC-130J. Unfortunately there was only a single right to left pass which did not provide visibility of the F-35B's refuelling probe, which extends from a flap just below the cockpit on the starboard side.

Interestingly, this was the only takeoff of an F-35B during the RIAT weekend to utilise the SVTOL capability. The lift fan flaps can be seen open and the main exhaust nozzle can be seen tilted at an angle. Though unlike other display flights during the weekend the aircraft made a conventional landing.

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The RAF F-35B Lightning II demonstrated it's STOVL capabilities in a steady hover and vertical landing on a specially constructed heat resistant landing pad. The display also included a flypast with the Red Arrows and 2 RAF Typhoons.

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F-35A US Air Force Heritage flight performed flypasts with an F-22 Raptor and P-51 Mustang. Unfortunately on Friday and Saturday weather at Duxford prevented the Mustang from taking part and on Sunday the F-22 developed a technical fault, so we did not get to see all 3 aircraft together.

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