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Sweeney cycled the landing gear and performed aircraft flying-qualities evaluations, including rolls, sideslips, and overall systems checks.

Primary differences from the X-35A include a larger wing and control surfaces, the addition of ailerons and a special structure to absorb high-impact landings.

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The X-35A CTOL program was completed on 22 November 2000 with all objectives achieved or exceeded.

The X-35A (aircraft 301) made its last flight to Palmdale, where it immediately began conversion to the X-35B STOVL variant.

TOP OF PAGE Lockheed X-35 Test Flights The X-35A CTOL demonstrator successfully completed first flight on 24 October 2000, taking off at a.m. The initial flight profile included check-outs of the on-board systems, handling characteristics and down-link connections for the constant stream of critical data-transfer to the flight-test technicians at Palmdale and Edwards Air Force Base.

The X-35 climbed quickly to an altitude of 10,000 feet, maintained an airspeed of 250 knots while accomplishing a series of figure-eight maneuvers to demonstrate key handling qualities and to validate design predictions.

Several test cards were performed and the aircraft was ferried back to Palmdale for storage.