The F-22 added another page to the base's long history of aviation milestones today when it resumed active flight testing at approximately 7:30 in the morning.17-05-1998 - Edwards Airforce Base, CA -- Lt. Col. Steve Rainey resumed active flight testing with Raptor 01Lt. Col. Steve Rainey piloted the craft. He is the first Air Force pilot to fly the F-22 since it rolled off the Lockheed Martin assembly line in Marietta, Ga., last summer. "The aircraft handled like a dream," Rainey said. "It's the best flying aircraft I have flown, and it sets a new standard of excellence in fighter aviation." He said this was a true test flight with three objectives: flying qualities envelope expansion, speedbrake handling qualities, and formation flying qualities. Rainey said each of the three test points was flown precisely as briefed and that the flight was a successful test mission.
The sortie marked the Raptor's entry into formal flight test. Raptor01, the nickname of the aircraft at Edwards, is the first of three engineering and manufacturing development F-22s that will be used to test flying qualities and explore the edges of the aircraft's performance envelope.