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F-35A Lighting II Seems to Melt Mountain Peak As It Flies Over Tacoma

For reasons that are not entirely clear, the U.S. Air Force (more than any other military branch) has a real soft spot for amazing photos taken by the people serving its needs. So much so that the USAF not only releases pics on a regular basis, but even runs a photo contest, themed this year What a Wonderful World.
F-35A Lighting II 8 photos
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It is thanks to this hunger for beautiful photographs that we’ve been able to see these past few months incredible stills of Air Force hardware and personnel in action. And the one we have here, released last week, sure is at the top of that list, and a perfect fit for our Photo of the Day section.

The image was captured at the beginning of July and it shows a portion of the sky over Tacoma, Washington. In the background we see the snowy slopes of a mountain, with its peak somewhat distorted, as if melted, by the heat generated by an aircraft engine.

That would be a Pratt & Whitney engine, attached to the rear of a USAF F-35A Lighting II deployed with the plane’s demonstration team. The crew was at the beginning of July a star appearance at the Gig Harbor Wings-and-Wheels and the Tacoma Freedom Fair, and the target of many cameras, including that of Airman 1st Class Jake Welty, who captured this particular still.

After having little to do for most of 2020 on account of the many closures caused by the health crisis, the F-35A Lighting II demo team has been back in action for some time now, trekking shows across America and having tons of fun. Deployed with the 388th Fighter Wing out of Hill Air Force Base in Utah, the team comprises nine pilots flying one of the most modern aircraft fielded by the Air Force.

Capable of reaching speeds of Mach 1.6 and altitudes of 50,000 ft (15,000 m), the plane is described by its maker, Lockheed Martin, as the most advanced fighter jet in the world. It can travel for as much as 1,700 miles (2,800 km) on a single load of fuel, ready to deliver a wide range of missiles and bombs on target.

Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-35s.


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