Jul 16 2014

F-35 Returns to Limited Flight, Officials Rule Out Farnborough

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl om 8:56 onder Global F35 News

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2014 – While the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter has returned to limited flying, it will not be appearing at the Farnborough International Airshow in the United Kingdom, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said during a Pentagon news conference today.

Return to flight after grounding

The F-35 fleet was grounded July 3 in the wake of a June 23 engine fire on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Navy and Air Force airworthiness authorities approved the F-35’s return to flight yesterday.

The return has a limited flight clearance that includes an engine inspection regimen and restricted flight rules, Kirby said, adding that the limits will remain in place until the root cause of the engine fire is identified and corrected.

While the investigation is not yet complete, “we haven’t seen anything that points to a systemic issue across the fleet with respect to the engine,” the admiral said.

Even with the return to flight, U.S. and British officials decided not to send Marine Corps and Royal Air Force F-35B aircraft across the Atlantic to participate in the Farnborough airshow. “This decision was reached after a consultation with senior leaders and airworthiness authorities, despite the decision by airworthiness authorities to clear the aircraft to return to limited flight,” Kirby said.

While we’re disappointed that we’re not going to be able to participate in the airshow,” he added, “we remain fully committed to the program itself and look forward to future opportunities to showcase its capabilities to allies and to partners.”

Strict rules of flight resumption

Under the rules of the flight resumption, the F-35s are limited to a maximum speed of Mach 0.9 and 18 degrees of angle of attack. They can go from minus 1 G to a 3 G’s, the admiral said. After three hours of flight time, each front fan section of each engine has to be inspected with a borescope. “That was a pretty significant limitation in terms of being able to fly them across the Atlantic,” he added.

This is not the first aircraft to have problems like this, Kirby noted, and it won’t be the last. “New programs often go through these kinds of challenges,” he said. “We’re confident that we’re going to get through this.”

US Department of Defense; press release; 15-Jul-2014; by Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

One Response to “F-35 Returns to Limited Flight, Officials Rule Out Farnborough”

  1. willemhagemanon 17 Jul 2014 at 19:50

    I have seldom read such a bull shit press release.

    1. I quote Mr. Kirby: ‘we haven’t seen anything that points to a sytemic issue across the fleet with respect to the engine’. How can one be so sure when still investigating the root cause? As I have already also said on this site some years ago, the F-135 is completely overstressed. At certain spots the inside temperature is just a few degrees below the temperature that alloy metals, even titanium, can stand. Or, even in the cold section, the forces these metals can stand. Rotor and or stator blades will sooner or later simply brake off as a whole or in parts, may melt, desintegrate or suffer hair cracks with later on the same effects. Unless P&W comes up with a brilliant solution: the only remedy left is reducing the thrust of the engine. But the JSF is already a lame duck.

    2. The relationship between a time limited further restriction of the flight envelope and the engine is strange. Yes, max. M 0.9 is understandable, because to go supersonic the JSF needs AB power, because it has no super cruise capability to my knowledge. But what -1 to +3 G have to do with the engine is a complete mystery to me. Even that lame duck must be capable to pull more than 3 g’s at about M0.9 or even below. +3 g’s is about the maximum for an airliner and this is a fighter or should be a fighter.

    3. The press twitter Rear General Kirby as well as General Bogden from JPO speak constantly against themselves in intervieuws and don’t have consistent answers. A good example is the Q and A JSFnews below. If P&W does not come up with a fundamental solution we can expect several airborne JSF to change into a piano during flight and piano’s don’t fly very well as we all know.

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