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F-35 first flight in photos

The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter lifts off for its first training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  It’s the first flight of any 33rd Fighter Wing F-35 since their arrival to the base.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter lifts off for its first training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. It’s the first flight of any 33rd Fighter Wing F-35 since their arrival to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, puts on his flight gear prior to stepping to the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter for its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, puts on his flight gear prior to stepping to the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter for its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, secures his helmet for testing prior to stepping to the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter for its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, secures his helmet for testing prior to stepping to the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter for its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, undergoes a computerized helmet test prior to stepping to the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter for its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35.  The helmet is tested with a computer before each sortie.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, undergoes a computerized helmet test prior to stepping to the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter for its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35. The helmet is tested with a computer before each sortie. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, removes his helmet after a successful test prior to stepping to the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter for its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35.  The helmet is tested with a computer before every sortie.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, removes his helmet after a successful test prior to stepping to the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter for its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35. The helmet is tested with a computer before every sortie. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

(Right to left) Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the first Air Force qualified F-35 pilot, Maj. Joseph Bachmann, the first Marine qualified F-35 pilot, and Lt. Col. Lee Kloos, the 58th Fighter Squadron commander, receive an operations brief from Lt. Col. Todd LaFortune before stepping out for the first-ever F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

(Right to left) Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the first Air Force qualified F-35 pilot, Maj. Joseph Bachmann, the first Marine qualified F-35 pilot, and Lt. Col. Lee Kloos, the 58th Fighter Squadron commander, receive an operations brief from Lt. Col. Todd LaFortune before stepping out for the first-ever F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, walks around the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter prior to its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, walks around the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter prior to its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, walks up to the cockpit of the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter, followed by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Houser, aircraft crew chief for the sortie, prior to its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, walks up to the cockpit of the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter, followed by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Houser, aircraft crew chief for the sortie, prior to its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, puts on his helmet as Staff Sgt. Jeremy Houser, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, assists prior to the first F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter training sortie at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., March. 6.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, puts on his helmet as Staff Sgt. Jeremy Houser, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, assists prior to the first F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter training sortie at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., March. 6. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, secures his helmet from the cockpit of the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter prior to its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
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Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, secures his helmet from the cockpit of the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter prior to its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Houser, a 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintainer, communicates with the pilot of the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter during flight checks prior to the first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Houser was the crew chief for the first sortie.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
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Staff Sgt. Jeremy Houser, a 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintainer, communicates with the pilot of the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter during flight checks prior to the first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Houser was the crew chief for the first sortie. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, begins flight checks on the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter prior to its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
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Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the 58th Fighter Squadron director of operations, begins flight checks on the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter prior to its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Smith is the first Air Force pilot qualified to fly the F-35. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis out for its first training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
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The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis out for its first training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis out for its first training sortie followed by an F-16 chase aircraft March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
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The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis out for its first training sortie followed by an F-16 chase aircraft March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis out for its first training sortie followed by an F-16 chase aircraft March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
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The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis out for its first training sortie followed by an F-16 chase aircraft March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter lifts off for its first training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. It’s the first flight of any 33rd Fighter Wing F-35 since its arrival to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
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The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter lifts off for its first training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. It’s the first flight of any 33rd Fighter Wing F-35 since its arrival to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter lifts off for its first training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  It’s the first flight of any 33rd Fighter Wing F-35 since their arrival to the base.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon)
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The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter lifts off for its first training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. It’s the first flight of any 33rd Fighter Wing F-35 since their arrival to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon)

The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter lifts off for its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. It’s the first flight of any 33rd Fighter Wing F-35 since their arrival to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon)
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The F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter lifts off for its first-ever training sortie March 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. It’s the first flight of any 33rd Fighter Wing F-35 since their arrival to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon)