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January 8th, 2013 · 5 Comments · General

The first Navy F-35 in its RAG colors – VFA-101, after its decommissioning in 2005 at Oceana, reborn and relocated to Eglin AFB (I know…*Eglin*…home of armadillos, snakes and survival school).

I’m reserving judgment on this – they are still working on a tailhook configuration/location that works and the level of technology in this thing might suffer greatly in the ocean/salty/green water environment.

Not to mention that old story the Old Man used to tell me…that “It is far better to call base and tell them you had to shut down AN engine rather than telling them you had to shut down THE engine”.

And the lack of a backseat…I mean *honestly*.  What were these guys thinking????

It does still look strange, with that 101 livery.  And the November Juliet tail code – I am used to seeing an Alpha Delta next to that Grim Reaper logo.  Not the prettiest of aircraft, I must say.  A little squat in the middle – that usually happens with middle age, not when you just start out.

Anyhow, ever onward and upward.


5 Comments so far ↓

  • SoCal Pir8

    Glad to see the Navy version getting into the mix. The first USMC F-35B arrived in Yuma late last month. Now, the 35 may not be the ‘prettiest’ but do you remember the Boeing entry? Now that was the ugliest airplane I’ve ever seen.

  • Old AF Sarge

    Remember the old saying “If it looks fast, it is fast”? Me thinks that does not apply here?

  • Kath

    Perhaps it is the angle of the photo? Or maybe just “the camera adds 10 pounds”?

    Looks heavy.

  • Stephen Pham

    Good thing that the last Grim Reapers F-14D wasn’t available for a side by side photo that they usually have when a squadron transitions to a new airframe. It may have made the F-35 look a bit homely next to the sleek Tomcat.
    Thanks for posting this picture, Pinch! I was wondering when I would finally see one with a non-test livery. You made me laugh about the middle age middle squat!

  • Glenn M. Cassel AMH1(AW) USN RET

    I see the A model almost every day at Edwards. The AF/Lockheed test unit has 6 of the A and 2 of the B.
    One engine…………… water?
    I did a tour in an A-7 outfit in the 80s…………gotta wonder.

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