Forgive downtown workers if they did a double-take on their cold walk to the office Monday morning. It’s not every day you see an F-35 Lightning II sitting on the street in Fort Worth.
This week, Lockheed Martin has set up its full-scale model of the next-generation fighter jet on Main Street in front of the Fort Worth Convention Center, giving the plane’s hometown a chance to get a closeup look at the high-tech jet being built in west Fort Worth.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., each day through Thursday, visitors can climb into the cockpit for free to get a cool selfie and a feel for being a pilot. A Lockheed test pilot will be on hand each day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to answer questions.
Despite the freezing temperatures, people lined up through the lunch hour Monday to take a turn sitting at the controls.
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The display is part of the run-up to the Armed Forces Bowl, set for Friday afternoon at TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium and pitting Louisiana Tech against Navy. Workers spent several hours on Sunday assembling the model, which was transported in several large pieces.
The model is an exact replica of an actual F-35 jet. In the past decade, Lockheed has taken the F-35 model around the world for appearances at air shows and in countries that are partners in the F-35 program: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Next, the model will be off to Pasadena, Calif., where it will be on display at Rose Bowl festivities celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Air Force.