This damned near had me on the floor laughing.
A very old mate of mine was one of the early F-22 test pilots, loved the thing. Then Boeing snared him for a few years and he did work on some stealthy version of the F-15 that has yet to see the light of day.
Then the Pentagon asked hm via Boeing if they could borrow him to go do a round robin eval of current jets - I doubt there is a better qualified pilot on earth to do that.
So off he goes., Sukhoi were very accommodating, although I doubt they advised the Kremlin, says the SU-35 is everything everyone has said of it, ie. brilliant although he thinks the F-22 would probably still have an edge.
The French could not wait to show the Rafale, which, like any French aircraft is sort of alluring - I understand, believe me I do.
They also fed him so much wine he decided to wait a day or two before heading up to Saab. Loved the Grippen - I'm really not surprised, I always have loved Saab aircraft, last I flew was the Viggen. I think I told that tale before - span it when it was still in prototype, very laconic chase pilot said after "it's not actually cleared for that yet, how was it ?" Span and recovered fine but canard spin characteristics were a little unexplored back then. Saab cars on the other hand - yuck...
Then off to the UK and was utterly delighted by the Typhoon II, he believes it would in every way except stealth equal the F-22.
So finally he goes back to the States and hops into an F-35 - he used to fly the Harrier so V/STOL was nothing new to him.
"Well, ? So how is it?" I asked
"Could not wait to get out of the bloody thing" was his reply - "piece of crap."
When a test pilot of over 25 years and 10 years line and combat time before that makes that comment I guess you need to listen...
On the up side he thinks it can be fixed, but they are going to have to unlock some of the -22 system code - could get interesting, Lockheed have felt like they have been fumbling in the dark with their hands tied for quite a while because of that.