Burbage speaks at aviation foundation gala

Published: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 09:40 PM.

Speaking to the grounding of an F-35B in testing a week ago, Burbage said, the move “was a routine precaution and should be resolved pretty soon.”

Involved was the first U.K. airplane being tested at Eglin Air Force Base, he said. “Before we clear it to go back in flight, we need to find out exactly why the control nozzle on the STOVL — which is controlled with fuel almost as its hydraulic fluid — ruptured a line in the system.”

He said. “The pilot aborted and there was no other issue with the airplane or pilot and it didn’t affect the other two variants, just the F35-B.”

There are about 25 F-35’s flying now, Burbage said.

“There are between 45 and 50 F-35B’s in production and a total of 132 of all three variants in some form of assembly or production,” he said. 

In his speech, he mentioned technical innovations of the F-35, such as a unique cockpit configuration that could handle a pilot from 103 pounds to 250 pounds and a specially-designed helmet that allows the pilot instrumentation and a 360-degree horizontal and vertical look outside the aircraft.

“It’s a great ride,” he told the crowd in conclusion. “We’re on a good path on where we need to go.”  

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