As depicted here, the plane was flying for the Wings over South Texas air show at Naval Air Station Kingsville in the same state, at the beginning of April. The vapor skirt that wraps around its rear end is in fact nothing but visible water condensed in a cloud. These things tend to form at times, when the conditions are right and the aircraft moves at very high speeds.
The fifth-generation fighter, in its F-35A Lightning II configuration, like we have it here, is capable of flying at Mach 1.6, which is about 1,200 mph (1,931 kph). True, most of the time demo planes never go past the sound barrier at air shows, but that is not necessarily required for vapor cones to form.
This particular pilot seems to make these occurrences a constant feature of the show, as we’ve seen images of this exact F-35 pulling off such a stunt before, and we’ll probably see it do it some more.
The next appearance of the F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team is scheduled for May 7, at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.