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What's it like to fly an F-35?

PUBLISHED: 10:26 05 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:47 05 June 2018

An F-35 Lightning on a fltying visit to its future home at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

An F-35 Lightning on a fltying visit to its future home at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

The F-35 is the world's most advanced warplane - a computer with wings.

So what’s it like to fly this cutting-edge piece of technology?

American test pilot Tony “Brick” Wilson said it was the easiest aircraft he has flown.

“Sometimes I feel guilty calling myself a pilot,” he said. I command this aircraft, I do not control it.”

Royal Navy pilot Lieutenant “Hux”, who can only be identified by his nickname, said it has “a lot of things to assist you in flying it very accurately”.

“At the same time that gives you the extra capacity to be able to use all those sensors. There is a potential for information overload, there is so much information coming in,” he added.

“I think that is really what this airplane does, it does a good job of collecting all that information and presenting it to the pilot to let you use it.”

Wing Cdr Scott Williams, Britain’s senior representative at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, said the jet was a to fly and is smooth and responsive.

With a powerful engine, he said take off is “always great fun” - as the jet hits 160mph - because the aircraft accelerates very quickly. He also praised its handling and maneuverability.

Apart from its shape and design what else gives the F-35 its stealth capability?

All the conventional antennas you would normally see on an aircraft have been moved inside the skin of stealth.

On an F-35 Mr Over said you “cannot see the engine” - the inlets on the jet are lined with “radar absorbent material”, and that this is “one of the biggest stealth features” on the aircraft.

The weapons can also be brought inside the aircraft’s skin of stealth. meaning they are able to be hidden. Weapons can also be carried externally.

The jets are made from materials including aluminium, titanium and corrosion resistant steel.

Each has almost nine million lines of software code within it.

There are six distributed aperture system (DAS) sensors around the aircraft - two underneath, two on top of the aircraft and one either side of the nose.

These infrared cameras stitch the images and information together, and feed this in real time into the pilot’s helmet and on to the visor.

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