An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter conducts its first carrier-based night flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. Navy photo

The F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter conducted its first carrier-based night flight operations aboard the USS Nimitz off the coast of San Diego.

Navy test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Ted “Dutch” Dyckman piloted F-35C test aircraft for the inaugural night flight. Dyckman conducted a series of planned touch and goes before making an arrested landing.

Through last Thursday, two test aircraft have completed 28 flights for a combined 34.5 flight hours. The aircraft also performed 108 catapult launches, 215 planned touch-and-go landings, two long touch and go landings, 110 arrested landings and zero “bolters,” or landings in which the aircraft doesn’t catch the arresting cable and has to immediately return to flight.

The Joint Strike Fighter is single-seat, single-engine stealth fighter built by Lockheed Martin. The program is one of the most expensive in the military, with variants being produced for the Air Force and Marines, as well as many foreign countries.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.