She didn’t have a smudge on her. Not a leak found anywhere. She even had that “new jet smell.” Skies were blue, everything was perfect. Those were the conditions on that July day in 2011 when Lt. Col. Eric Smith took off from the Lockheed facilities at Fort Worth, Texas, in the first operational F-35 to fly to its permanent home at Eglin Air Force Base, in the Florida panhandle. And the rest, according to Smith, who would go on to pick up three of the first six F-35s from the factory, is history.