Boeing JSF X-32a begins simulated carrier landing tests
16 November 2000http://defence-data.com/storypic/jsfxa1sm.jpg [zero size or time out]
The Boeing Joint Strike Fighter X-32A concept demonstrator aircraft has begun field carrier landing practice (FCLP) tests to demonstrate flying and handling qualities during low-speed aircraft carrier approach. This is the first flight since the X-32A was grounded after a hydraulics failure caused an unscheduled landing on a dry lake bed at Edwards AFB. Engineers said they have found an interim fix to the problem and hope to have a final solution by the end of the month..
US Navy Cmdr. Phillip 'Rowdy' Yates, the US government's lead test pilot for the Boeing JSF program, and Boeing lead test pilot Fred Knox are demonstrating simulated carrier landings using a Frensel lens on the ground to provide pilot cues during their approaches to a simulated carrier deck outlined on a runway at Edwards Air Force Base.
'The X-32A demonstrated excellent low-speed flying qualities in the carrier mode configuration,'' Yates said. 'Flight path control was precise all the way to touch down. This aircraft continues to fly as simulations predicted it would.''
Including today's 30-minute flight, Boeing now has completed 18 flights and 24 percent of the program's overall flight-test objectives, as well as 54 percent of its carrier variant (CV) approach objectives.
"These successful CV tests are significant because the data we're gathering clearly demonstrates we are meeting our customers' objectives early in the flight-test program,'' said Katy Fleming, Boeing JSF system test director. '
Boeing is demonstrating commonality (a Concept Design Programme (CDP) objective) with one aircraft. The X-32A is demonstrating both the CV and conventional landing and takeoff handling qualities without any modifications or changes to the aircraft.
The X-32B will demonstrate short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities for the US Marine Corps, U.K. Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. In late September, Boeing completed the first engine runs on the X-32B aircraft at its Palmdale, Calif., test site.
During flight test the two JSF demonstrator aircraft must successfully demonstrate three objectives originally outlined at the beginning of the CDP phase in 1996:
Commonality and modularity among JSF variants;
Low-speed carrier approach flying and handling qualities;
Short takeoff, transition, hover and vertical landing.
The Boeing-led One Team is competing with Lockheed Martin to build the JSF under a four-year US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps concept demonstration contract, while also defining the design for the operational JSF. A competition winner is scheduled to be selected in 2001.
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