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F-35B supersonic jet's first mid-air hover (video)

Joseph L. Flatley
March 18, 2010
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VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) is no great shakes in a wargadget these days -- and a craft like the F-35B, with its short-take off and vertical-landing capabilities might be even less shocking -- but jets that stop whatever they're doing mid-air to just hover awhile? That's another story entirely. The $83 million-plus, supersonic stealth jet did just that yesterday, according to Lockheed Martin. The flight began with a conventional takeoff and the aircraft hit about 200 knots before the pilot switched her into STOVL, culminating in a zero airspeed hover 150 feet above the runway. This is the first "mid-air hover" by the aircraft, and if development continues at the pace most of these programs do it should see active service sometime around Engadget's 25th birthday. Video after the break.





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