The F-35 Lightning II may have its fair share of critics — but a short video that recently hit Instagram shows it’s also got some amazing moves.
A clip of Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson, commander of the F-35 Demonstration Team at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, pulling off some jaw-dropping maneuvers was posted Jan. 9 by Instagram user theromanticjaguar and soon reposted by Olson on his own page. The video first shows Olson executing a vertical climb in his F-35 before turning sharply into a tight loop.
After completing the loop, Olson takes the F-35 into a slow, controlled flat spin, allowing the advanced fighter jet to turn around once in a spiral while dropping. Having successfully fallen out of the sky, he then takes himself out of the spin and resumes flying, briefly rolling his plane to the left in almost a tip of the hat to his audience.
The entire maneuver appears effortless. And just that short clip suggests that when the F-35 demo team’s full performance is unveiled to the public, jaws will drop.
Maj. Rachael Winiecki says her background as an A-10 pilot helps her make sure the F-35's ground capabilities, such as close-air support and combat search-and-rescue, are being tested.
Luke announced in a Dec. 4 release that its F-35 Heritage Flight Team would become the F-35 Demonstration Team for the 2019 show season.
In that release, Olson said 2018 demonstrations were an “appetizer,” and that the 2019 flights would present “the full five-course meal showing fans everything this jet is capable of.”
Olson said last month that the 13-minute long demonstration will highlight the F-35′s speed, agility, and high-g turning. He also teased the “controlled flat spins while falling out of the sky,” high-speed passes and vertical climbs shown in last week’s video.
“What makes the fifth-generation fighter so special in general is the slow-speed, high angle of attack maneuvering it can do,” Olson said. “The show we’re going to bring to fans is unlike anything they’ve ever seen, and I really believe it’s going to set a benchmark for the demonstrations performed by any airplane on the planet.”