06/26/2013: According to a 33rd Fighter Wing Press release on June 22, 2013:
The U.S. Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-101 received the Navy’s first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant aircraft from Lockheed Martin today.
U.S. Navy pilots and maintainers from VFA-101 are now training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in preparation for the first F-35C live flight training sorties.
Credit Photos: 33rd Fighter Wing, 6/22/13
- In the first two photos, Lt. Cdr. Chris Tabert, F-35C Lightning II instructor pilot, U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-101 lands at Eglin Air Force Base’s 33d Fighter Wing after a two hour flight from Ft. Worth, Texas. F-35C accompanied by two F-18 hornets from Naval Air Station Lemoore CA fly over the Eglin flight line before landing.
- In the third photo, the F-18s flew with the F-35C from Ft. Worth, Texas to Eglin.
- In the fourth photo, the F-35C is seen performing maneuvers to lift its wings like it would on the deck of an aircraft carrier. These operations were performed during post-flight shut down and taken at the Navy’s F-35 Hangar area at Eglin AFB, Fla.
- In the fifth and sixth photos, Lt. Cdr. Chris Tabert, F-35C instructor pilot taxis the Lightning II joint strike fighter in after landing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla and then prepares to exit the cockpit after landing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
- In the seventh, eighth and ninth photos consecutively: the F-35C is seen performing passes over the Eglin flight line before landing and then the F-35C breaks away from formation prior to landing and finally there is a tight formation of F-35C and three F-18 hornets flying chase.