TOP OF PAGE Lockheed X-35 Test Flights The X-35A CTOL demonstrator successfully completed first flight on 24 October 2000, taking off at a.m. The initial flight profile included check-outs of the on-board systems, handling characteristics and down-link connections for the constant stream of critical data-transfer to the flight-test technicians at Palmdale and Edwards Air Force Base.The X-35 climbed quickly to an altitude of 10,000 feet, maintained an airspeed of 250 knots while accomplishing a series of figure-eight maneuvers to demonstrate key handling qualities and to validate design predictions.Six touch and go landings were conducted at Palmdale before Morgenfeld brought the aircraft to rest.
On that day, Hargreaves took the aircraft up to 15-20 ft for several minutes and then conducted a vertical landing.The following day, Hargreaves again engaged the Lift Fan propulsion system, and the plane rose straight up to a stabilized position at an altitude of about 25 ft, while Hargreaves checked to ensure the flight controls responded properly before returning the plane gently to the ground.Two additional flights took place on 19 December in preparation for commencement of FCLP testing.The Lockheed Martin JSF team completed installation of the JSF X-35B’s flight-ready propulsion system – including the shaft-driven lift fan and engine – on May 12.Following these modifications, the aircraft was towed to the hover pit and British Aerospace test pilot, Simon Hargreaves began operating the flight-ready system in the aircraft on May 24.
On 23 June 2001 at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, the X-35B conducted its first press-up, marking the first time in aviation history that a shaft-driven lift fan propulsion system had lifted an aircraft into the sky.In total, the X-32B hovered for eight minutes that day, the single longest sustained hover covering two minutes and 42 seconds.The final flight of the X-32B test program occurred on July 28, 2001.During the flight, Knox put the X-32A through some initial airworthiness tests, including flying qualities and sub-systems checkout. The tests were successfully concluded on 2 December.The first flight represented the X-32A's entry into a five-month flight-test program at Edwards Air Force Base that consisted of approximately 50 test flights totaling about 100 hours to validate the X-32’s flying qualities and performance for conventional and aircraft carrier operations. Boeing CV accomplishments included 97 approaches and 74 actual touchdowns, as well as numerous "wave-offs," throttle transients and integrated test blocks including roll response and speed stability during the FCLP tests.Between the CDP contract award in 1996 and the first flights in 2000, literally thousands of meetings and technical reviews took place as the Boeing and Lockheed teams worked towards finalizing the designs for their X demonstrator aircraft and continued refining what would become their final program proposals.