July 25, 2024

Lt. Tabert Gets the F-35 Hat Trick

Navy Lt. Christopher Tabert on March 23 became the only military test pilot to fly the A, B and C versions of the F-35. (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

On March 23, Lt. Christopher Tabert completed the government acceptance flight for AF-14, a production-level F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) for the U.S. Air Force.

In doing so, he became the only military test pilot to fly the A, B and C versions of the F-35, according to Marine Col. Art Tomassetti, vice commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, Air Education and Training Command at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The three versions of the F-35 include the U.S. Air Force F-35A, the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B short takeoff and vertical-landing model, and the U.S. Navy F-35C carrier variant.

According to Tabert, the differences between the models are slight.

Even though Tabert started testing the F-35 only nine months ago, he already has a number of milestones on the aircraft under his belt: the first steam catapult launch; the first weapons pit drop for an inert 1,000 pound GBU-32 GPS-guided bomb; a supersonic flight; and the first launch from the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System.

The F-35B and F-35C naval variants of the Joint Strike Fighter are undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River prior to delivery to the fleet. The 33rd Fighter Wing will provide initial fleet training on the F-35.

Watch a Navy-produced video about Tabert below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ake76DI5iNw]

Source: PEO(JSF) Public Affairs

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