Boeing Completes First JSF In-Flight Conversions to STOVL Mode

Apr 16, 2001, 01:00 ET from The Boeing Company

    EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In what veteran
 test pilot Dennis O'Donoghue called "the best day of my flying career," the
 Boeing Joint Strike Fighter X-32B Friday successfully completed its first
 in-flight conversions -- from conventional to short-takeoff-and-vertical
 landing (STOVL) flight mode and back again.  The milestone marks the beginning
 of flight test of the Boeing direct-lift solution to the customer's STOVL
 requirement.
     On the aircraft's third test flight, O'Donoghue, the company's lead STOVL
 test pilot, demonstrated the first flow-switch transition, re-directing the
 X-32B's engine thrust from the cruise nozzle to its lift nozzles and then back
 again.  The transition was accomplished at 180 knots and 9,500 feet during the
 58-minute flight.
     Later the same day on the aircraft's fourth flight, O'Donoghue completed
 seven flow-switch transitions at speeds ranging from 140 to 185 knots and
 altitudes between 6,000 and 9,500 feet.  The aircraft spent approximately 40
 minutes of the 52-minute flight in the STOVL mode.  Semi-jetborne handling
 qualities tests including throttle transients and lift-nozzle thrust vectoring
 also were completed during the flights.
     O'Donoghue said the conversions between conventional and STOVL flight
 modes were extremely smooth.
     "Today's testing confirmed the ease in conversion between conventional and
 STOVL flight modes as well as the low pilot workload required," O'Donoghue
 said.  "Ease of operation and the ability to rapidly convert to and from
 conventional and STOVL modes gives the pilot tremendous operational
 flexibility and are key advantages of direct lift.
     "The flow-switch transitions from cruise nozzle to lift nozzles and back
 again took approximately three seconds, which reinforces the data we collected
 in our simulations, on the engine test stand and during X-32B ground tests,"
 he added.
     Katy Fleming, Boeing JSF system test director, said flow-switch transition
 between conventional and vertical thrust is the key to STOVL flight.  "These
 initial transitions give us confidence that our system is working as
 designed," Fleming said.  "The X-32B flight-test program will help prove our
 direct-lift system is simple, reliable and low-risk."
     A former U.S. Marine Corps Harrier pilot, O'Donoghue added that he
 continued to be impressed with the handling qualities of the X-32B.  "The
 plane flies just like the simulator.  That's significant because we're closely
 matching actual performance with what we predicted in years of modeling and
 simulation."
     Boeing JSF One Team members Pratt & Whitney (F119-614 engine supplier) and
 Rolls-Royce (STOVL components including the lift nozzles) have been involved
 in all ground and flight testing.
     The X-32B completed its first flight on March 29 when O'Donoghue piloted
 the plane on a 50-minute flight from Palmdale, Calif., to Edwards Air Force
 Base, Calif.  The flight marked the aircraft's entry into a four-month test
 program to validate the Boeing direct-lift approach to the STOVL requirements
 for the Marine Corps and the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
     Maj. Jeff Karnes, U.S. Marine Corps, also a Harrier pilot, became the
 first Marine to fly the X-32B when he piloted the aircraft on its second
 flight April 11.  Karnes is part of an integrated test team that includes One
 Team and U.S. and United Kingdom government test pilots and engineers.
     The X-32B will complete a number of flights at Edwards before moving to
 Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., for the majority of STOVL testing.  The
 overall flight-test program will include approximately 55 flights totaling
 about 40 hours.
     Underscoring the commonality of its JSF design, Boeing is using just two
 aircraft to demonstrate all government requirements for the U.S. Air Force,
 Navy, Marine Corps, U.K. Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in the concept
 demonstration phase of the program.  Boeing used its X-32A aircraft to
 demonstrate both aircraft carrier and conventional-takeoff-and-landing
 objectives.  The X-32A completed its flight-test program Feb. 3 after
 66 flights and 50.4 flight hours with six different pilots.
 
     To read about the X-32B's first flight go to:
 http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2001/q1/news_release_010329n.htm
     For additional Boeing JSF information, photos or video, go to:
 http://www.boeing.com/jsf
 
 

SOURCE The Boeing Company
    EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In what veteran
 test pilot Dennis O'Donoghue called "the best day of my flying career," the
 Boeing Joint Strike Fighter X-32B Friday successfully completed its first
 in-flight conversions -- from conventional to short-takeoff-and-vertical
 landing (STOVL) flight mode and back again.  The milestone marks the beginning
 of flight test of the Boeing direct-lift solution to the customer's STOVL
 requirement.
     On the aircraft's third test flight, O'Donoghue, the company's lead STOVL
 test pilot, demonstrated the first flow-switch transition, re-directing the
 X-32B's engine thrust from the cruise nozzle to its lift nozzles and then back
 again.  The transition was accomplished at 180 knots and 9,500 feet during the
 58-minute flight.
     Later the same day on the aircraft's fourth flight, O'Donoghue completed
 seven flow-switch transitions at speeds ranging from 140 to 185 knots and
 altitudes between 6,000 and 9,500 feet.  The aircraft spent approximately 40
 minutes of the 52-minute flight in the STOVL mode.  Semi-jetborne handling
 qualities tests including throttle transients and lift-nozzle thrust vectoring
 also were completed during the flights.
     O'Donoghue said the conversions between conventional and STOVL flight
 modes were extremely smooth.
     "Today's testing confirmed the ease in conversion between conventional and
 STOVL flight modes as well as the low pilot workload required," O'Donoghue
 said.  "Ease of operation and the ability to rapidly convert to and from
 conventional and STOVL modes gives the pilot tremendous operational
 flexibility and are key advantages of direct lift.
     "The flow-switch transitions from cruise nozzle to lift nozzles and back
 again took approximately three seconds, which reinforces the data we collected
 in our simulations, on the engine test stand and during X-32B ground tests,"
 he added.
     Katy Fleming, Boeing JSF system test director, said flow-switch transition
 between conventional and vertical thrust is the key to STOVL flight.  "These
 initial transitions give us confidence that our system is working as
 designed," Fleming said.  "The X-32B flight-test program will help prove our
 direct-lift system is simple, reliable and low-risk."
     A former U.S. Marine Corps Harrier pilot, O'Donoghue added that he
 continued to be impressed with the handling qualities of the X-32B.  "The
 plane flies just like the simulator.  That's significant because we're closely
 matching actual performance with what we predicted in years of modeling and
 simulation."
     Boeing JSF One Team members Pratt & Whitney (F119-614 engine supplier) and
 Rolls-Royce (STOVL components including the lift nozzles) have been involved
 in all ground and flight testing.
     The X-32B completed its first flight on March 29 when O'Donoghue piloted
 the plane on a 50-minute flight from Palmdale, Calif., to Edwards Air Force
 Base, Calif.  The flight marked the aircraft's entry into a four-month test
 program to validate the Boeing direct-lift approach to the STOVL requirements
 for the Marine Corps and the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
     Maj. Jeff Karnes, U.S. Marine Corps, also a Harrier pilot, became the
 first Marine to fly the X-32B when he piloted the aircraft on its second
 flight April 11.  Karnes is part of an integrated test team that includes One
 Team and U.S. and United Kingdom government test pilots and engineers.
     The X-32B will complete a number of flights at Edwards before moving to
 Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., for the majority of STOVL testing.  The
 overall flight-test program will include approximately 55 flights totaling
 about 40 hours.
     Underscoring the commonality of its JSF design, Boeing is using just two
 aircraft to demonstrate all government requirements for the U.S. Air Force,
 Navy, Marine Corps, U.K. Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in the concept
 demonstration phase of the program.  Boeing used its X-32A aircraft to
 demonstrate both aircraft carrier and conventional-takeoff-and-landing
 objectives.  The X-32A completed its flight-test program Feb. 3 after
 66 flights and 50.4 flight hours with six different pilots.
 
     To read about the X-32B's first flight go to:
 http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2001/q1/news_release_010329n.htm
     For additional Boeing JSF information, photos or video, go to:
 http://www.boeing.com/jsf
 
 SOURCE  The Boeing Company

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