• Mr. Richard "Tad" Chichester
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Holden Auditorium (Room 112)
  • 4:00 p.m.
  • Faculty Host: Dr. Robert Canfield

The Lockheed Martin F-35C is the US Navy’s newest carrier-based fighter aircraft, one of the three-variant F-35 family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather, stealth multirole fighter aircraft currently in production for multiple US armed services and partner countries.  Drop testing of a full scale structurally complete aircraft was performed to verify compliance with the US Navy structural integrity and flight certification requirements leading up to flight test and ship trials of the jet. Results from the full scale drop tests are used to clear the aircraft for high sink rate arrested landings in flight test and to provide evidence for final structural certification of the F-35C.  The drop test program consisted of 47 simulated shipboard landings for a variety of design touchdown conditions at specified aircraft attitudes, sink rates, and aircraft store configurations. A summary of the F-35C drop test program will be presented outlining design requirements for shipboard landings, test objectives, test setup, conduct, and results, including correlation with analytical predictions.


Richard “Tad” Chichester is Senior Manager of the F-35 Structures Technologies group, responsible for design loads and criteria, structural dynamics, flutter and aeroelasticity, vehicle-level finite element analysis, and mechanical/electrical systems integrity on the F-35 Program. He has been with Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics in Fort Worth, TX for over 36 years, working in various roles on the F-111, F-16, F-16XL, A-12, F-35, and other advanced design programs. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1979 with a B.S. in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, and holds a M.S. degree in Engineering Management from Southern Methodist University.