First Dutch F-35 Solo Flight

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Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) Major Laurens Jan Vijge yesterday became the first Dutch pilot to fly the F-35 solo.

blog post photo
Dutch Ministry of Defense photo

He flew F-001, one of two Dutch test aircraft based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where he and three other RNLAF F-16 pilots and ground crews are learning the ropes on the F-35.

After two months on a simulator, the Dutch pilots have to fly solo since F-35s are all single-seat aircraft.

Vijge described his first flight as "fantastic," comparing it to a test drive of a new car.

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