A video released Monday shows the first vertical takeoff of a Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II. While impressive, don't think that runways will soon be obsolete. In order to achieve vertical takeoff, the plane can only carry a limited amount of weight, and consequently a limited amount of fuel. This will significantly limit flying distances, so it appears we will still be stuck waiting our turn on the runway for a while.
The F-35B will be used primarily as a short take off, vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft and requires approximately 400 feet for takeoff, much less than the 3,000 foot norm.
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NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md., May 20, 2013 – A Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35B Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) Lightning II test aircraft recently completed the first-ever Vertical Takeoff (VTO) on May 10. VTOs are one of the many capabilities required for the fielding an F-35B aircraft. While not a combat capability, VTOs are required for repositioning of the STOVL in environments where a jet could not perform a short takeoff. In these cases, the jet, with a limited amount of fuel, would execute a VTO to travel a short distance.
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