Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lightning Strikes Twice

I had the chance to go to the F-35A media event at Edwards AFB on August 27th. They took us out to the intersection of taxiway Bravo and the main runway and we watched AF-01 land after a test flight. Once the plane landed we climbed into the Air Force bus and they took us to hangar 1820 for the official briefing and interviews.

Media events are always interesting. They are, of course, designed to put the best foot forward for that particular program, but hopefully what you hear is said with good justification. Some are more successful at it than others.

I won't comment on my thoughts on that aspect (we are teammates on the program, after all, and subject to bias), but I will make an observation on how things are presented to the media. The Air Force did a great job for the most part. There were glitches, but flight test is used to that and so are flight test PR events. Regardless, the media had great access and good quotes and soundbites.

Lockheed Martin does an outstanding job with media events. Having gone head-to-head against them and being on the same team with them on different occasions, it is still an amazing thing to watch. Nobody else in aerospace - and I mean nobody else - does PR as well as those guys! I've seen them blow away Boeing and us many times. In that regard, my hat is off to them.

This event was no different, even though it was the Air Force's gig. Lockheed Martin provided top-notch images and background information to the media with DVDs and thumbdrives so deadlines could be quickly met. From the media side it is always fun going to one of their events.

And the plane was fun to shoot, too. I just wish the sun had been to our backs, but it was so high up in the sky it was probably a moot issue. Nevertheless I think I got some neat images. I even got artsy! That one I submitted to the 2010 Aviation Week photo contest. I will post that shot at a later date.

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