Key point: The F-35 is made to be highly maneuverable and the Air Force recently proved this point in a series of tests.
Recent commentary on the F-35 fifth-generation fighter has centered around its firepower and stealth capabilities, but a recently released demonstration video depicts the fighter jet in a pleasantly different light.
A clip from Capt. Capt. Andrew "Dojo" Olson’s instagram page showcases the F-35A Lightning II in a series of dramatic aerial maneuvers, performed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
The highly circulated video, posted last week, begins with Olson performing a pitch-up that seamlessly transitions into a tight loop. Olson proceeds to execute what he teased last month as a “controlled flat spin while falling out of the sky,” essentially a controlled downward spiral. He then slowly resumed flight, ending with a playful left roll before zooming out of the shot.
This brief video, filmed last month, is what Olson-- commander of the F-35 Demonstration Team-- called an “appetizer” for the 2019 air show season. “What makes the fifth generation fighter so special in general is the slow-speed, high angle of attack maneuvering it can do,” Olson went on to say in an Air Force press statement. “I’m really proud of what our team accomplished last year, but I’m also very excited about the upcoming season to finally get to show air show crowds around the world the full potential of the F-35A Lightning II.”
The F-35 Demonstration Team is a separate entity formed out of the Heritage Flight Foundation. The U.S. Air Force hopes that a dedicated team will have the additional freedom and expertise to bring out the F-35A’s unique capabilities, so as to effectively distinguish it from F-line predecessors and competing foreign models in an air show format.