Friday, June 27, 2008

Jon S Beesley 1950-

Jon Beesley made the first flight of the F-35 Lighning II on 15th December 2006

Jon S Beesley was born and raided in Rexburg,Idaho. He graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. degree in Physics and was commissioned in the USAF n 1972. Following USAF pilot training and conversion training in the F-4 Phantom II,he served 4 years as an F-4 pilot stationed in the Netherlands with the 32TFS. Jon graduated from USAF Test Pilot School in 1979 and began his test pilot career at Edwards AFB working on classified programs.

Selected as the Operations Officer (1981-1986) for the F-117 Stealth Fighter, he had the good fortune to be one of the first USAF pilots to fly the stealth fighter. In this testing,his efforts focused on flying qualities and envelope expansion flights. He was a co-rcipient of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots - Ivan C. Kincheloe award, the top award given for his work in the early days of the F-117 progam. He was also presented with an Air Medal by the USAF Chief of Staff for safely recovering a n F-117 badly damaged during a destructie flutter incident later in the program.

Jon left the Air Force in 1986 and joined the General Dynamics Corporation in Fort Worth,Texas. As a General Dynamics Test Pilot, he flew development flights on an innovative night attack system on the F-16 - Falcon Eye. The program was one of the first to use helmet-mounted displys and head steered infrared devices on a tactical aircraft. He also became the Genereal Dynamics project test pilot on the YF-22 in the ATF competition in 1990. Following the selection of the YF-22 as the USAF's next fighter, he moved into the F-22 program as the Fort Worth project pilot.

His efforts with the F-22 program were focused on the development and subsequent flight testing of the F-22 Raptor. The primary area of emphasis was aircraft systems integration,development of superb flying qualities and agility throughout the Raptor's flight envelope. He was the second pilot to fly the F-22 and one of the lead pilots in envelope expansion flights. He was awarded the Chuck Yeager award in 200 for his career achievements as a test pilot.

Jon is currently the Chief Test Pilot on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. He made the first flight of the F-35 Lighning II on 15th December 2006. He has over 5500 hours of flight time in over 50 types of aircraft.