Will the F-35B land vertically at the Royal International Air Tattoo or the Farnborough Air Show? No. Will it hover? Yes.
One of my colleagues had raised the issue that the F-35B will not perform a vertical landing this July, inferring this might be because it would damage the plane or the runway.
F-35 program spokesman Joe DellaVedova told me that the Marine version of the Joint Strike Fighter will perform short takeoffs and landings and perform hovers at both shows. I’m betting you can expect the same at the July 4 christening of the HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The blast from an F-35B as it lands vertically is pretty fearsome, but the Marines, Navy and program office all say the effects are manageable. I’ve seen the landing spots on the USS Wasp after several days of F-35 testing and spoken unsupervised with crew members. The Wasp deck crew told me they were seeing less damage to the deck than it sustains from some other aircraft that routinely fly from the Wasp and other LHD class ships.