Officials and reps ‘fly’ F-35 fighter jets

Bill Huizenga, Woodward Inc., F-35
U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga tries an F-35 flight simulator at Woodward, Inc. in Zeeland on Aug. 8, 2017.

ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — You can read all about the powerful F-35 or see pictures of the fighter aircraft, but it’s not every day you get to see what it’s like to fly the most capable multirole fighter in the world.

State and local elected officials and other stakeholders were invited to “fly” Lockheed Martin’s interactive cockpit demonstrator at Woodward, Inc. in Zeeland Tuesday.

“It really is an honor to be a part of a Congress that passed a bill to continue the work towards adding more of these F-35s. I believe the last appropriations bill was a total of 84 of them,” U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, said before stepping into the simulator.

During the event, Lockheed Martin highlighted the F-35’s role in protecting national security and the program’s economic impact across the U.S. and within Michigan.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, Woodward Inc.
U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga at Woodward Inc. in Zeeland on Aug. 8, 2017.

Huizenga pointed out how Woodward supplies significant content to the family of F-35s. The company says some of that includes the fuel nozzles, manifold and augmenter for the F-135 engine, plus numerous actuation and servo control components to the three F-35 variants, including the horizontal tail centering actuator, the canopy actuator, aileron actuators, multiple flight deck controls, and nose wheel steering.

“This is why Zeeland has more employees than it does population. People know this is the place to come. If you want high-quality, great workforce, West Michigan is the place to be,” Huizenga said.

Officials tout the F-35 Lightning II as the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft and say it will serve as a cornerstone of global security in the 21st century.