Last week, a pair of F-35B Joint Strike Fighters flew in formation for the very first time. The F-35B is the STOVL version of the aircraft, which means it can take-off and land vertically (much like the famous Harrier jump-jet) using a system of ducts and pivoting nozzles that redirect the engines' thrust downward.
It's hard to believe, but this is a picture of the first formation flight by two F-35Bs -- taken on Nov. 10, 29 months after the first flight of the STOVL variant. Aircraft BF-1 and BF-3 were photographed near the NAS Patuxent River test center on a flight to evaluate the close-proximity handling qualities of the F-35B.
But what about that vertical take-off and landing sequence? That's even more fantastic to watch, particularly for anyone who has a soft spot for The Transformers: