VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) is no great shakes in a wargadget these days -- and a craft like the F-35B, with its short-take off and vertical-landing capabilities might be even less shocking -- but jets that stop whatever they're doing mid-air to just hover awhile? That's another story entirely. The $83 million-plus, supersonic stealth jet did just that yesterday, according to Lockheed Martin. The flight began with a conventional takeoff and the aircraft hit about 200 knots before the pilot switched her into STOVL, culminating in a zero airspeed hover 150 feet above the runway. This is the first "mid-air hover" by the aircraft, and if development continues at the pace most of these programs do it should see active service soon.
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