F-35 Nearly Trims The Trees In Incredible Boeing Field Departure

Check out this photographer’s teeth-ratting, landscape jostling, ear-splitting encounter with an F-35A departing Boeing Field in Seattle.

byThomas Newdick|
F-35 low departure
Andrew King


For fans of military aviation, airshows offer perhaps the best regular opportunities to see jets and other aircraft being put through their paces, with the chance to witness breathtaking maneuvers and other, sometimes explosive performances. But for one lucky photographer, a U.S. Air Force F-35A stealth fighter on its way to a remote performance provided a stunning — and very visceral — spectacle of its own.

The very impressive low-level sequence, seen below, was recorded by Andrew King, whose other videos and photos are well worth looking at over on his Instagram page.

The video that Andrew kindly shared with The War Zone was taken on August 7, last year, but was apparently only recently posted to his Instagram account. The footage shows a jet operated by the F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team.

According to the Air Force, the role of the Demo Team is “to showcase the unique aerial capabilities of the Air Force’s most advanced fifth-generation multirole stealth fighter … as well as highlight the history of the Air Force’s service through heritage formation flights.”

In the video, we see the F-35 making a very low transition out of King County International Airport, also known as Boeing Field, five miles south of downtown Seattle, Washington. The jet — flown by demo pilot Maj. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe of the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah — was departing the base to perform its display routine over Lake Washington, as part of the Boeing Seafair Air Show.

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The same F-35A performs over Lake Washington, including punching out flares, during the 2022 Seafair Air Show:

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Andrew told us: “My buddy, Geoff Ott, brought his truck and we were standing on it and did not expect to experience that. But it was awesome!”

Situated adjacent to a park and almost directly at the northern end of the runway, Andrew and his friend were very nearly blown off their promontory by the departing jet — more specifically, by the power of its F135 engine, which can pump out a total of 43,000 pounds of thrust, and the F-35's extremely powerful wing vortices.

Trees on the opposite side of the road are seen shaking violently as the F-35 pulls up into a steep climb-out, trailing prominent contrails in its wake.

Another video of the F-35A departure for the 2022 Seafair Air Show:

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“From experience, F-35s generate a lot of wake turbulence even when they are just landing,” Andrew reflected.

Military aviation aficionados will no doubt be envious of just how close to the action Andrew and Geoff managed to get on this occasion — all the more impressive since they did it without even attending the airshow.

Contact the author: thomas@thedrive.com