The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is ever-evolving with new system, sensor and weapon capabilities continually being added. At the forefront of this work are the manufacturer’s test pilots. Heading this team is Lockheed Martin’s Chief of Fighter Flight Operations, Tony ‘Brick’ Wilson, who detailed to the author what the work of a test pilot involves on the fifth-generation fighter.
He said: “Our job as test pilots is to provide the voice of the pilot, the end user, from the aircraft’s inception all the way to the end of the programme. As the programme matures, we’re providing input from the pilot’s perspective, how will they use a capability for example, so we work very closely with the engineering community to make sure we’re providing the optimised solution to the end user.”