Rainstorm Shuts Down F-35 Demo on First Day of Farnborough

F-35B Lightning II

FARNBOROUGH, England --The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's much-awaited appearance at the Farnborough International Airshow hit its first snag Monday, when a planned demonstration of its hover capabilities was cancelled due to torrential rain.

The entire show day was abruptly cancelled just before 3 p.m. local time Monday after flooding in the show's exhibit halls was determined to present a safety hazard for attendees. Farnborough staff first shut off power to the show, held at the Farnborough Airport outside London, then began ushering attendees to the exits.

"Due to the heavy rain, unfortunately we have cancelled today's flying display and closed the show early," staff wrote on the show's official Twitter account. "Safety remains our key priority."

Staff said attendees who had purchased Monday tickets would receive free admission the following day.

The Lockheed Martin Corp.-made F-35B short take-off and vertical landing variant of the aircraft had been set to conduct a much-anticipated demonstration of its hover capabilities at 2:30 p.m., just before the downpour started.

The fifth-generation fighter did make an appearance on the first day of Farnborough, though. It conducted a fly-by in formation with the Royal Air Force's Red Arrows Aerobatic team of BAE Systems Hawks at 10:30 a.m., shortly after the show opened.

There will be more opportunities to watch the F-35 in action at Farnborough. While the aircraft is not touching down at the show, it will fly in from Fairford Airfield for daily hover demonstrations at 2:30 p.m., Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns said.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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