The Boeing Joint Strike Fighter X-32B concept demonstrator, with Boeing lead STOVL test pilot Dennis O'Donoghue in the cockpit, completed maximum-thrust engine runs in the STOVL mode over the engine run pit in Palmdale, Calif., March 7, 2001. The milestone moved the aircraft closer to first flight, scheduled for the end of March. During the engine runs, the test team, including Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce, repeatedly redirected engine thrust from the aircraft's cruise nozzle to the lift nozzles and back again. The tests confirmed lift systems operations and verified system integrity. They also demonstrated the ease in conversion between conventional and STOVL flight modes - a key advantage of the direct-lift configuration. The X-32B will demonstrate Boeing's direct-lift approach to the STOVL requirements for the U.S. Marine Corps and the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.