U.S. Marine Corps pilot Maj. Joseph T.
Bachmann became the first Marine to fly the
F-35 in aircraft 'AA-1' 3/19/09
Photo: Lockheed / Tom Harvey
3/19/2009 - FORT WORTH, TX -- Maj. Joseph T. "O.D."
Bachmann today became the first U.S. Marine Corps
pilot to fly the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II,
logging the flight-test program’s 90th mission. He is
the fifth pilot to fly the stealthy, multi-role
Bachmann departed the runway at Lockheed Martin's
Fort Worth plant at 11:29 a.m. CDT and flew the
aircraft to 15,000 feet, checking handling qualities
and engine response before landing one hour and 15
"The plane performed wonderfully," said Bachmann, a
member of the F-35 Integrated Test Force and one of
the team test pilots who will fly the F-35B Lightning
II at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., test
site, beginning this summer. "The U.S. Marine Corps
will be getting an aircraft with extraordinary
capabilities that is very easy to fly. Today is
another step toward delivery of the first jets to
Marines on the front line."
Bachmann’s first flight was in F-35 AA-1, a
conventional takeoff and landing variant with controls
and flying qualities essentially identical to the
short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B. The
F-35B will replace Marine Corps AV-8B STOVL fighters
and F/A-18 strike fighters. It will be the Marines’
primary fighter, and will provide a unique combination
of capabilities: stealth, supersonic speed, STOVL
basing flexibility and network-enabled mission
Bachmann is the second active-duty service member to
fly the F-35. U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. James "Flipper"
Kromberg first piloted the Lightning II on Jan. 30,
2008. Bachmann has more than 2,000 hours of flight
time in more than 30 different types of aircraft and
is currently qualified in the F/A-18A through 18F.
During his military career, Bachmann made two
deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom –
one from the "Harrier Carrier," USS Bataan, and the
other land-based at Al Asad, Iraq. During flight
operations in Iraq, Bachmann earned four Air Medals
and a Navy Commendation with a Combat V.
Source: Lockheed Press Release